Skip to main content

Full text of "Country reports on human rights practices : report submitted to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives and Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate by the Department of State in accordance with sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended"

See other formats


if I- 7W/I- 1^ • "^r^ 



/^ 



lOlst Congress 
1st Session 



JOINT COMMITTEE PRINT 



S. Prt. 
101-3 



COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN 
RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 1988 



REPORT 

SUBMITTED TO THE 

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS 
U.S. SENATE 

AND 

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

BY THE 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

IN ACCORDANCE WlM''l^£<5^iM5"^Tl^^GlM^i^lB(b) OF THE 
FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ;Ait4;jr»j:^I^l|9j^}|^AS AMENDED 

V S90i20*MAhl5 89 

[Y COPY 




FEBRUARY 1989 



Printed for the use of the Committees on Foreign Relations and Foreign 
Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively 



UMASS/AMHERST 




31EDbt,Dlt37ba5fl'^ 



■tt's::ror l io.NTcoMM,rrEEPR,NT j %\:i 



COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN 
RIGHTS PRACTICES FOR 1988 



REPORTS 

SUBMITTED TO THE 

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS 
U.S. SENATE 

AND 

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

BY THE 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTIONS 116(d) AND 502B(b) OF THE 
FOREIGN ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1961, AS AMENDED 




FEBRUARY 1989 



Printed for the use of the Committees on Foreign Relations and Foreign 
Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
WASHINGTON : 1989 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office 
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 



90-641 -89-1 



COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS 



CLAIBORNE PELL, 
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware 
PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland 
ALAN CRANSTON, California 
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut 
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts 
PAUL SIMON, Illinois 
TERRY SANFORD, North Carolina 
BROCK ADAMS, Washington . 
DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN, New York 



Rhode Island, Chairman 

JESSE HELMS, North Carolina 
RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana 
NANCY L. KASSEBAUM, Kansas 
RUDY BOSCHWITZ, Minnesota 
LARRY PRESSLER, South Dakota 
FRANK H. MURKOWSKI, Alaska 
PAUL S. TRIBLE, Jr., Virginia 
DANIEL J. EVANS, Washington 
MITCH McCONNELL, Kentucky 



Geryld B. Christianson, Staff Director 
James P. Lucier, Minority Staff Director 



COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida, Chairman 



LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana 

GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania 

STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York 

DON BONKER, Washington 

GERRY E. STUDDS, Massachusetts 

DAN MICA, Florida 

HOWARD WOLPE, Michigan 

GEO. W. CROCKETT, Jr., Michigan 

SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut 

MERVYN M. DYMALLY, California 

TOM LANTOS, California 

PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania 

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey 

LAWRENCE J. SMITH, Florida 

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California 

MEL LEVINE, California 

EDWARD F. FEIGHAN, Ohio 

TED WEISS, New York 

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York 

MORRIS K. UDALL, Arizona 

CHESTER G. ATKINS, Massachusetts 

JAMES McCLURE CLARKE, North Carolina 

JAIME B. FUSTER, Puerto Rico 

JAMES H. BILBRAY, Nevada 

WAYNE OWENS, Utah 

FOFO I.F. SUNIA, American-Samoa 



WILLIAM S. BROOMFIELD, Michigan 
BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, New York 
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California 
JIM LEACH, Iowa 
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin 
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine 
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois 
GERALD B.H. SOLOMON, New York 
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska 
ROBERT K. DORNAN, California 
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey 
CONNIE MACK, Florida 
MICHAEL DeWINE, Ohio 
DAN BURTON, Indiana 
JAN MEYERS, Kansas 
JOHN MILLER, Washington 
DONALD E. "BUZ" LUKENS, Ohio 
BEN BLAZ, Guam 



John J. Brady, Jr., Chief of Staff 
Steven K. Berry, Minority Staff Director 



(II) 



FOREWORD 



The country reports on human rights practices contained herein 
were prepared by the Department of State in accordance with sec- 
tions 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as 
amended. They also fulfill the legislative requirement of section 31 
of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act and section 505(c) of the 
Trade Act of 1974, as amended. 

The reports cover the human rights practices of all nations that 
receive U.S. foreign assistance, those nations that do not but are 
members of the United Nations, and those few nations that are not 
members of the United Nations. They are printed to assist Mem- 
bers of Congress in the consideration of legislation. 

Claiborne Pell, 
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, 
Dante B. Fascell, 
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

(Ill) 



LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL 



Department of State, 
Washington, DC, January 17, 1989. 
Hon. Claiborne Pell, 

Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, 
Hon. Jim Wright, 
Speaker, House of Representatives. 

Dear Sirs: I have the distinct honor to present the report pre- 
pared in compliance with sections 116(d)(1) and 502B(b) of the For- 
eign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and section 505(c) of the 
Trade Act of 1974, as amended. 
With best wishes, 
Sincerely. 

J. Edward Fox, 
Assistant Secretary Legislative Affairs. 
Enclosure. 

(V) 



CONTENTS 



Foreword in 

Letter of Transmittal v 

Introduction 1 

Africa: 

Angola 6 

Benin 13 

Botswana 19 

Burkina Faso 26 

Burundi 33 

Cameroon 42 

Cape Verde 51 

Central African Republic 58 

Chad 66 

Comoros T4 

Congo 80 

Cote d'lvoire 88 

Djibouti 95 

Equatorial Guinea 101 

Ethiopia 108 

Gabon 121 

Gambia, The 127 

Ghana 134 

Guinea 143 

Guinea-Bissau 150 

Kenya 155 

Lesotho 169 

Liberia 177 

Madagascar 189 

Malawi 197 

Mali 205 

Mauritania 212 

Mauritius 221 

Mozambique 227 

Namibia 239 

Niger 251 

Nigeria 258 

Rwanda 271 

Sao Tome and Principe 279 

Senegal 284 

Seychelles 293 

Sierra Leone 300 

Somalia 308 

South Africa 319 

Sudan „ 345 

Swaziland 359 

Tanzania 368 

Togo 379 

Uganda 388 

Zaire 399 

Zambia 412 

Zimbabwe 421 

Central and South America: 

Antigua and Barbuda 434 

Argentina 438 

(VII) 



vni 

Central and South America — Continued Page 

Bahamas 446 

Barbados 451 

Belize 455 

Bolivia 462 

Brazil 469 

Chile 483 

Colombia 498 

Costa Rica 511 

Cuba 517 

Dominica 533 

Dominican Republic 537 

Ecuador 544 

El Salvador 552 

Grenada 570 

Guatemala 576 

Guyana 590 

Haiti 598 

Honduras 610 

Jamaica 623 

Mexico 631 

Nicaragua 642 

Panama 657 

Paraguay 668 

Peru 681 

St. Kitts and Nevis 694 

St. Lucia 697 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines 701 

Suriname 704 

Trinidad and Tobago 711 

Uruguay 718 

Venezuela 724 

East Asia and the Pacific: 

Australia 731 

Brunei 735 

Burma 740 

Cambodia 751 

China 763 

China (Taiwan only) 784 

Fiji 800 

Indonesia 808 

Japan 824 

Kiribati 830 

Korea, Democratic People's Republic of 834 

Korea, Republic of 842 

Laos 855 

Malaysia 863 

Marshall Islands 875 

Micronesia, Federated States of 878 

Mongolia 881 

Nauru 886 

New Zealand 890 

Papua New Guinea 894 

Philippines 899 

Singapore 916 

Solomon Islands 930 

Thailand 934 

Tonga 948 

Vanuatu 952 

Vietnam 956 

Western Samoa 968 

Europe and North America: 

Albania 972 

Austria 979 

Belgium 985 

Bulgaria 991 

Canada 1006 

Cyprus 1011 



IX 

Europe and North America — Continued ^"^ 

Czechoslovakia 1017 

Denmark 1031 

Estonia 1036 

Finland 1045 

France 1051 

German Democratic Republic 1057 

Germany, Federal Republic of 1069 

Greece 1075 

Hungary 1083 

Iceland 1096 

Ireland 1101 

Italy 1106 

Latvia 1112 

Lithuania 1118 

Luxembourg 1125 

Malta 1129 

Netherlands, The 1135 

Norway 1141 

Poland 1147 

Portugal 1161 

Romania 1168 

Spain 1183 

Sweden 1188 

Switzerland 1193 

Turkey 1198 

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1213 

United Kingdom 1236 

Yugoslavia 1253 

Near East, North Africa, and South Asia: 

Afghanistan 1267 

Algeria 1277 

Bahrain 1287 

Bangladesh 1293 

Bhutan 1305 

Egypt 1311 

India 1328 

Iran 1343 

Iraq 1355 

Israel and the occupied territories 1366 

Jordan 1388 

Kuwait 1396 

Lebanon 1408 

Libya 1418 

Maldives 1426 

Morocco 1432 

The Western Sahara 1444 

Nepal 1446 

Oman 1455 

Pakistan 1461 

Qatar 1477 

Saudi Arabia 1483 

Sri Lanka 1493 

Syria 1509 

Tunisia 1520 

United Arab Emirates 1530 

Yemen Arab Republic 1536 

Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of. 1545 

Appendixes: 

A. Notes on preparation of the reports 1549 

B. Reporting on worker rights 1552 

C. Selected international human rights agreements 1554 



COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS 

PRACTICE S 

INTRODUCTION 



1988 Human Rights Report 

This report is submitted to the Congress by the Department of 
State in compliance with Sections 116(d)(1) and 502B(b) of the 
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.* The legislation 
requires human rights reports on all countries that receive 
aid from the United States and all countries that are members 
of the United Nations. In the belief that the information 
would be useful to the Congress and other readers, we have 
also included reports on the few countries which do not fall 
into either of these categories and which are thus not covered 
by the Congressional requirement. 

Congress amended the Foreign Assistance Act by adding the 
foregoing sections of law so as to be able to consult these 
reports when considering assistance programs for specific 
foreign countries. One of the very important consequences 
--perhaps unintended — of these legislative provisions is that 
they have made human rights concerns an integral part of the 
State Department's daily reporting and daily decisionmaking. 
A human rights officer in an Embassy overseas who wants to 
write a good annual human rights report on the country in 
which he or she works must carefully monitor and observe human 
rights developments throughout the year on a daily basis. As 
a consequence he or she will report on such developments 
whenever something of human rights significance happens in the 
country of assignment. In the past 12 years, the State 
Department has become decidedly better informed on and 
sensitized to human rights violations as they occur around the 
globe . 



•Section 116(d)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act provides as 
follows : 

"The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Speaker of the 
House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations 
of the Senate, by January 31 of each year, a full and complete 
report regarding . . . 

"(1) the status of internationally recognized human 
rights, within the meaning of subsection (a) ... 

(A) in countries that received assistance under this 
part, and 

(B) in all other foreign countries which are members of 
the United Nations and which are not otherwise the subject of 
a human rights report under this Act." 

Section 502(B) (b) of the Foreign Assistance Act provides as 
follows : 

"The Secretary of State shall transmit to Congress, as part of 
the presentation materials for security assistance programs 
proposed for each fiscal year, a full and complete report, 
prepared with the assistance of the Assistant Secretary of 
State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, with respect 
to practices regarding the observance of and respect for 
internationally recognized human rights in each country 
proposed as a recipient of security assistance." 

(1) 



Any country-specific discussion of worldwide human rights 
developments in 1988 must start, as did our discussion of such 
developments in 1987, with an assessment of the remarkable 
changes in the Soviet Union. Last year we said that the 
changes which occurred in 1987 were more than cosmetic but 
less than fundamental. We still cannot say that there has 
been a fundamental shift in the Soviet Union's approach to 
human rights, but there is no doubt that the changes in 
evidence in 1988 have profound implications, as advocates of 
significant systemic reform appear to have gained strength. 

By the end of 1988, all persons in the Soviet Union who had 
been sentenced under the articles of the criminal codes which 
punish dissenting political or unauthorized religious activity 
had been set free. Plans for amendment or repeal of the 
so-called political and religious articles have been 
announced. Abuse of psychiatry has been made a punishable 
offense. Freedom to leave the country temporarily has been 
significantly expanded. Armenian, ethnic German, and Jewish 
emigration has increased further, as has the emigration of 
Pentecostals . Plans have been adopted for elections which, 
though not completely free and open, are no longer to be the 
farce they have been heretofore. 

At the same time, the ability of opponents of reform to slow 
down progress, the existence of a powerful and pervasive 
secret police force, and the supremacy of the Communist Party 
remind us of the fact that institutional guarantees to protect 
the rights of the individual against unbridled state authority 
are still needed. Soviet reformers speak of the importance of 
respect for the rule of law and have underlined the vital 
importance of creating an independent judiciary, but that is 
still in the future. Nonetheless, the recognition of the need 
for action to secure the rights of individuals, and the fact 
that the defects of the existing system are now openly 
discussed, offer a basis for cautious hope of a better day. 

The year 1988 also saw significant further advances in Hungary 
and Poland toward a more open society. 

As far as the positive side of the ledger in 1988 is concerned, 
we need to note that, abiding by the provisions of the Chilean 
Constitution, President Pinochet submitted his candidacy for 
continuation in office to popular referendum. In a free and 
fair plebiscite the decision of the voters went against him. 
There is hope that in 1989 we shall witness Chile's peaceful 
return to democracy. 

On the Asian continent, the year 1988 also saw significant 
steps taken by the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Pakistan 
toward democracy and increasing respect for the rights of the 
individual. By contrast, in Burma a nationwide outpouring of 
sentiment in favor of free elections was brutally suppressed 
when the military systematically killed and detained student 
demonstrators and leaders. 

The other most significant human rights violations of the year 
1988, if measured by their severity and the numbers of persons 
affected, took place in the context of interethnic conflicts 
in Iraq, Burundi, and Sudan. In each of these situations 
innocent civilian bystanders died as a result of guerrilla 
warfare or reprisals for violence by others. 

The Iraqi Government employed chemical warfare against a 
Kurdish insurgency, killing and injuring thousands of 
civilians and causing tens of thousands to flee their 



country. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have also been 
forcibly relocated within Iraq. An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 
civilians were killed during ethnic violence in Burundi. 
Following attacks by Hutu tribesmen on Tutsis, the Tutsi- 
dominated military retaliated by killing thousands of Hutus. 
Tens of thousands of Hutus fled the country. By year's end, 
however. President Buyoya had succeeded in establishing a 
government of reconciliation consisting of members of both of 
these ethnic groups, and most of the Hutu refugees had 
voluntarily returned to Burundi. 

Tragically, the interethnic conflict in Sudan, between the 
Sudanese Army and government-supported tribal militias on one 
hand, and the Ethiopian-supported Sudanese People's Liberation 
Army on the other, resulted in the largest number of victims 
in 1988. Although no accurate assessment has been made, some 
reports estimate that 100,000 to 250,000 civilians in southern 
Sudan died from starvation after elements of armed forces on 
each side interfered or failed to cooperate with efforts to 
deliver food supplies to regions controlled by the other side. 

This year there are 169 separate reports. The guidelines 
followed in preparing the reports are explained in detail in 
Appendix A. In Appendix B is a discussion of reporting on 
worker rights, as required by Section 505 (c) of the Trade Act 
of 1974, as amended by Title V of the Trade and Tariff Act of 
1984 (Generalized System of Preferences Renewal Act of 
1984).* Although the legislation requires reports on worker 
rights only in developing countries that have been 
beneficiaries under the Generalized System of Preferences, in 
the interest of uniformity, and to provide a ready basis for 
comparison, we have here applied the same reporting standards 
that we have applied to all countries on which we prepare 
reports. Appendix C contains a list of 12 international human 
rights covenants and agreements and indicates which countries 
have ratified them. 

Definition of Human Rights 

Human rights, as defined in Section 116(a) of the Foreign 
Assistance Act, include freedom from torture or other cruel, 
inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; prolonged 
detention without charges; disappearance due to abduction or 
clandestine detention; and other flagrant denial of the rights 
to life, liberty, and the security of the person. 
Internationally recognized worker rights, as defined in 
Section 502(a) of the Trade Act, include (A) the right of 
association; (B) the right to organize and bargain 
collectively; (C) prohibition on the use of any form of forced 
or compulsory labor; (D) a minimum age for the employment of 
children; and (E) acceptable conditions of work with respect 
to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and 
health. 

In addition to discussing the topics specified in the 
legislation, our reports, as in previous years, cover other 
internationally recognized political rights and civil 
liberties and describe the political system of each country. 



*Section 505 (c) of the Trade Act provides as follows: 

"The President shall submit an annual report to the 
Congress on the status of internationally recognized worker 
rights within each beneficiary developing country." 



.1 applying these internationally recognized standards, we 
seek to be objective. But the reports unashamedly reflect the 
U.S. view that the right of self-government is a basic 
political right, that government is legitimate only when 
grounded on the consent of the governed, and that government 
thus grounded should not be used to deny life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness. Individuals in a society have the 
inalienable right to be free from governmental violations of 
the integrity of the person; to enjoy civil liberties such as 
freedom of expression, assembly, religion, and movement, 
without discrimination based on race, ancestry, or sex; and to 
change their government by peaceful means. The reports also 
take into account the fact that terrorists and guerrilla 
groups often kill, torture, or maim citizens or deprive them 
of their liberties; such violations are no less reprehensible 
if committed by violent opponents of the government than if 
committed by the government itself. 

We have found that the concept of economic, social, and 
cultural rights is often confused, sometimes willfully, by 
repressive governments claiming that, in order to promote these 
"rights," they may deny their citizens the right to integrity 
of the person as well as political and civil rights. There 
exists a profound connection between human rights and economic 
development. Experience demonstrates that it is individual 
freedom that sets the stage for economic and social 
development; it is repression that stifles it. Those who try 
to justify subordinating political and civil rights on the 
ground that they are concentrating on economic aspirations 
invariably deliver on neither. That is why we consider it 
imperative to focus urgent attention on violations of basic 
political and civil rights. If these basic rights are not 
secured, experience has shown, the goals of economic 
development are not reached either. This is a point which the 
Soviet Union's reformers seem to have recognized. 

United States Human Rights Policy 

From this premise, that basic human rights may not be abridged 
or denied, it follows that our human rights policy is concerned 
with the limitations on the powers of government that are 
required to protect the integrity and dignity of the 
individual. Further, it is in our national interest to promote 
democratic processes in order to help build a world environment 
more favorable to respect for human rights and hence more 
conducive to stability and peace. We have developed, 
therefore, a dual policy, reactive in the sense that we 
continue to oppose specific human rights violations wherever 
they occur, but at the same time active in working over the 
long term to strengthen democracy. 

In much of the world, the United States has a variety of means 
at its disposal to respond to human rights violations. We 
engage in traditional diplomacy, particularly with friendly 
governments, where frank diplomatic exchanges are possible and 
productive. Where we find limited opportunities for the United 
States to exert significant influence through bilateral 
relations, we resort to public statements of our concerns, 
calling attention to countries where respect for human rights 
is lacking. In a number of instances, we employ a mixture of 
traditional diplomacy and public affirmation of American 
interest in the issue. 

The United States also employs a variety of means to encourage 
greater respect for human rights over the long term. Since 
1983 the National Endowment for Democracy has been carrying 



out programs designed to promote democratic practices abroad, 
involving the two major United States political parties, labor 
unions, business groups, and many private institutions. Also, 
through Section 116(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act, funds 
are disbursed by the Agency for International Development for 
programs designed to promote civil and political rights abroad. 
We also seek greater international commitment to the protection 
of human rights and respect for democracy through our efforts 
in the United Nations and other international organizations, 
and in the process devised by the Conference on Security and 
Cooperation in Europe. 

Preparation of these annual reports constitutes an important 
element of our human rights policy. The process, since it 
involves continuous and well-publicized attention to human 
rights, has contributed to the strengthening of an 
international human rights agenda. Many countries that are 
strong supporters of human rights are taking steps of their 
own to engage in human rights reporting and have established 
offices specifically responsible for international human 
rights policy. Even among countries without strong human 
rights records, sensitivity to these reports increasingly 
takes the form of constructive response, or at least a 
willingness to engage in a discussion of human rights policy. 
In calling upon the Department of State to prepare these 
reports. Congress has created a useful instrument for 
advancing the cause of human rights. 



Richard Schifter 
Assistant Secretary of State 
for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs 



ANGOLA * 

The People's Republic of Angola, the regime established in 
Luanda upon the withdrawal of the Portuguese in 1975, is ruled 
by the only legal political party, the Marxist-Leninist 
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) . 
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is both Head of State and 
chief of the MPLA. His rule was reconfirmed by the MPLA's 
Second Party Congress in December 1985. All major policy 
decisions are made by a small elite in the MPLA, which also 
controls all means of mass communication. Open political 
dissension is not tolerated. 

Now in its 13th year, the regional conflict involving Angola, 
Namibia, South Africa, and the internal conflict between the 
Government and the main opposition force, the National Union 
for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) , again dominated 
events in 1988. On December 22, 1988, however, the parties to 
the international conf lict--Cuba , Angola, and South Africa-- 
signed a series of agreements under U.S. mediation that will 
lead to independence for Namibia in the context of total Cuban 
troop withdrawal from Angola. This should significantly 
reduce regional tensions in the coming year. There were also 
signs that elements within the Government were reconsidering 
their opposition to opening a dialog with UNITA to end the 
civil war. UNITA has repeatedly stated that it favors a 
government of national unity and does not seek to establish an 
alternate government. 

The Angolan armed forces (FAPLA) total approximately 100,000. 
FAPLA is backed by a lightly armed Peoples' Militia, which is 
used for counterinsurgency and defensive duties within their 
localities. UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, is estimated to have 
a regular force of about 30,000, as well as a comparable 
number of irregular troops. It has the allegiance of a 
substantial portion of the population, especially among 
Angola's largest ethnic group, the Ovimbundu. UNITA controls 
the southeastern quarter of Angola's territory. The Angolan 
Government receives extensive military assistance from the 
Soviet Union, and an estimated 50,000 Cuban military personnel 
are stationed in the country. The United States supports 
UNITA in the Angolan conflict and has provided its forces with 
assistance . 

The fighting, combined with misguided economic policies, has 
devastated the country's infrastructure, forced a return to 
barter in some areas, and has led the Government to divert 
much of its revenues to the military, including payments to 
the Soviet bloc for military equipment and Cuban combat 
troops. Although foreign exchange earnings from Angola's oil 
exports increased in 1988 (to over $2 billion), the 
expenditure of hard currency for weapons and the impact of war 
on the productivity and distribution networks of Angolan 
agriculture appear to have created a chronic food shortage in 
both the cities and the countryside. The threat of famine, 
reportedly evident at the end of 1987, appears to have faded 
in the face of actions taken by the international donor 
community and the Government itself. The Government, in 



*The United States does not maintain diplomatic relations with 
the People's Republic of Angola and thus has no diplomatic 
personnel there able to monitor human rights conditions or 
evaluate allegations of abuses. 



ANGOLA 

response to the generally critical situation, announced on 
August 17, 1987, its intention to institute economic reforms, 
but it had not taken any significant steps by the end of 
1988. The Government also has applied for admission to the 
International Monetary Fund. 

In 1988 human rights abuses continued as the fighting showed 
no signs of abating. The prosecution of the war resulted in 
numerous allegations that government, UNITA, Cuban, and South 
African forces killed civilians and that the MPLA and UNITA 
executed political prisoners. There are no reliable casualty 
figures, but the international press focused on the large 
number of civilian casualties due to the extensive use of 
landmines. Upwards of 20,000 persons may have lost limbs as a 
result of the widespread use of landmines. Some recent 
estimates indicate that about 700,000 of the 8 to 9 million 
population have been displaced internally, in addition to some 
400,000 refugees resident in neighboring countries. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

Reports of political killings on the part of the Government 
and UNITA, both within the combat areas and in the form of 
summary executions of prisoners, persisted in 1988. It is 
difficult to evaluate the various claims and counterclaims. 
The fighting also resulted in many civilian deaths. While 
some of these deaths were inadvertently caused by military 
operations, others may have been deliberately perpetrated by 
opposing forces to intimidate civilian populations. The MPLA 
and UNITA publicly and repeatedly accused each other of 
practicing terrorism against their respective opponents, 
including killing or maiming civilians. UNITA additionally 
charged that Cuban forces have been involved in attacks on 
civilians. Civilians also have died as a result of UNITA 
actions, such as attacks on ground transportation and other 
economic targets. 

b. Disappearance 

There is no information to confirm that secret arrests or 
clandestine detentions are practiced by government security 
agencies or by UNITA, although each side has accused the other 
of such practices. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Allegations of torture and mistreatment made by both sides 
appear to have some basis in fact, but torture of opponents 
does not appear to be a generalised systematic practice of 
either the Government or UNITA. 

Angolan prison conditions are poor, with substandard diet and 
sanitation. There are some unconfirmed reports that 
foreigners are not well treated, but Americans who have been 
imprisoned in Angola appear to have been treated adequately 
and to have had access to medical care. 

Prison authorities reportedly have wide latitude in the 
treatment of prisoners. Treatment of political prisoners in 



ANGOLA 

the prisons controlled by the Ministry of State Security 
appears to be harsher than treatment in the regular prisons. 
There are reports of mistreatment including beatings, threats, 
and prolonged interrogation with the use of force. Family 
visits appear to be arbitrarily restricted in many instances. 
Foreign advisers, including Cuban and East Germans, are 
assisting Angolan state security services and may help in 
operating state security prisons. The Government continues to 
put captured UNITA supporters on public display. 

Very limited information is available on the administrative 
structure and practices within UNITA-held areas. There have 
been reports that UNITA mistreats some prisoners, but, 
generally, these could neither be confirmed nor disproved. In 
1988, however, two Cuban military prisoners freed by UNITA 
indicated that they had been well treated while in captivity. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile, 

Under Angolan law, persons suspected of committing serious 
acts against the security of the State may be Tield by the 
Ministry of State Security without charge for an initial 
period of 3 months, renewable for a further period of 3 
months. Such detainees need not be presented to a judge 
within 48 hours of their arrest, as stipulated in the Code of 
Criminal Procedure for persons suspected of other kinds of 
crime, and apparently have no right to challenge the grounds 
of their detention. After 6 months in detention without 
charge, the detainee must be informed of the accusations, with 
the State Security Service either informing the public 
prosecutor of the charges or releasing the suspect. Once the 
case is presented to the public prosecutor, there does not 
appear to be a specific time limit within which a suspect must 
be brought to trial. 

The deterioration of the security situation has exacerbated 
the general decline in judicial safeguards and due process. 
The Government has established regional military councils 
throughout much of Angola. They are responsible directly to 
President Dos Santos and have broad authority to restrict the 
movement of people and goods, to requisition people and goods 
without compensation, and to try crimes against the security 
of the State. The Government has also created "People's 
Vigilance Brigades" for urban areas, whose powers are not 
clear but include general administration and "protecting the 
people and ensuring public order and stability." 

Amnesty International's (AI) 1988 report (covering 1987) 
stressed that arbitrary arrests by the Government are 
continuing. A large number of persons have been detained by 
the Government on suspicion of ties with UNITA, and in some 
cases held for years without being charged or brought to 
trial. AI's report mentions the case of Claudio Pereira 
Songamaso, director of legal affairs of the Angolan Red Cross 
Society. He was held incommunicado for several months on 
suspicion of assisting UNITA. Outside Luanda and the main 
cities, detainees are often held in special detention camps. 
In some cases, detainees haave been sent to "reeducation 
centers" for political indoctrination. 

The precise number of political detainees and prisoners is not 
known but may have been several hundred at the end of 1988. 
Most were held on suspicion of aiding or sympathizing with 
UNITA. It is not clear how many captured UNITA military 



ANGOLA 

personnel were being held, as distinguished from civilian 
political detainees. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Although the Constitution provides for an independent 
judiciary, in practice the judiciary follows party guidelines. 
The Constitution also states that no citizen shall be arrested 
and brought to trial except under the terms of the law, which 
includes a public trial and the right of the accused to legal 
counsel. There is, however, insufficient evidence to determine 
to what extent these rights are observed in practice in regular 
criminal and civil cases. 

In the past, AI has expressed concern that trials of government 
opponents, notably in military tribunals, do not conform to 
internationally recognized standards. In particular, 
defendants reportedly were not given adequate opportunity to 
present their defense or appeal their cases. AI ' s 1988 report 
indicated that 29 defendants had been tried in January 1987 by 
the People's Revolutionary Tribunal on charges of treason, 
conspiracy, rebellion, and economic sabotage. AI also noted 
that detailed information was not available on the trial other 
than that 14 persons had been convicted and that some of the 
defendants reportedly had been accused of links with UNITA. 

Judicial lines of authority are unclear, especially since the 
regional military councils have been given responsibility for 
the trial of offenses against the security of the State, 
including "economic crimes." It is not known which trials are 
open to the public and under what rules of procedure the 
various military and civilian courts operate. The Constitution 
also provides for a People's Supreme Court, but its 
jurisdiction is not known. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Although the Constitution provides for the inviolability of 
the home and privacy of correspondence, the Government conducts 
arbitrary searches of homes, censors private correspondence, 
and monitors private communications. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression "in the 
context of the achievement of the basic objectives of the 
People's Republic of Angola." In fact, the Angolan people 
live under censorship, intimidation, and Government control of 
the media. Opposition views are not tolerated, and critics 
such as Bartolomeu Dias Fernandes, who was accused of 
"insulting the Head of State," have been sentenced to long 
prison terms. 

The Government is especially sensitive to criticism in the 
foreign press. But in 1986 the Government began to allow the 
travel of foreign correspondents to Angola in a controlled 
flow, a practice that was continued in 1987 and 1988. Angola 
subscribes to the "Front Line" states' ban on visits by South 
Africa-based news correspondents. The circulation of Western 
journals and periodicals in Angola is tightly restricted. 



10 



ANGOLA 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Freedom of assembly is denied to any political group or 
movement other than the MPLA. All other political movements 
have been banned. There are numerous unconfirmed reports of 
arrests of people who voice support of opposition movements or 
alternative political systems. The People's Vigilance 
Brigades, which have some law enforcement authority in urban 
areas, and the martial law climate throughout the country tend 
further to restrict freedom of assembly and association. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Although the Constitution provides for the inviolability of 
freedom of conscience and belief and for separation of church 
and state, the Government publicly emphasizes the importance 
of propagating atheism and has been critical of religious 
activities. The overwhelming majority of the Angolan 
population is Christian, however, and the Government has not 
moved to close down officially recognized churches. Church 
services are held regularly, and there is widespread 
attendance. Foreign and Angolan missionaries are allowed to 
carry out their normal activities. Reportedly, UNITA respects 
freedom of religion in the areas it controls. In the past, 
UNITA several times captured foreign missionaries, releasing 
them unharmed after publicly warning them of the dangers of 
being caught in the combat zone. 

The Government refuses to recognize smaller religious sects 
that it deems subversive. The most recent known case of 
repression concerns the Tocoist Church, founded in Africa in 
1949, which has a syncretic blend of Christian beliefs and 
indigenous religious practices. The Government banned the 
Church in 1977, and in 1987 it apparently tried and executed a 
number of church members. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

As a result of the increased fighting, the Government is 
acutely sensitive about security and has tightly restricted 
travel. Travel by road in most areas of Angola is dangerous. 
The Government has instituted a pass system within Angola, and 
foreigners are generally prohibited from traveling outside the 
principal cities. UNITA has publicly warned that it considers 
all of Angola to be a war zone and that it cannot guarantee 
the safety of persons traveling there. 

Angolan citizens are allowed to travel abroad, but this travel 
is carefully controlled by restrictions on issuance of 
passports and exit visas and by currency restrictions. 
Emigration is restricted. The Government limits travel to 
Angola through a selective and stringent visa policy. 

Angola is a party to the U.N. Protocol Relating to the Status 
of Refugees. There are currently approximately 70,000 
Namibian, 13,000 Zairian, and 10,000 South African refugees or 
displaced persons in Angola. As of December 1988, about 1,000 
Angolan and 1,000 Zairean refugees had registered with the 
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to request repatriation to 
their respective homeland. 



11 



ANGOLA 

Approximately 300,000 Angolans are still refugees in Zaire, 
and an estimated 94,000 are in Zambia. The Government claims 
that 180,000 exiles have returned to Angola over the years, 
but this claim cannot be verified. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens do not have the right to change their government. 
Angola is ruled by a small group of officials within the party 
apparatus of the ruling MPLA. The Constitution provides for 
popular participation in the political process, but political 
activity is limited to participation in the MPLA or in one of 
its controlled and sanctioned organizations such as its youth 
wing, the Angolan Women's Organization, or the trade union 
movement. Political power is centered in the elite membership 
of the Politburo and the somewhat larger Central Committee. 
Party membership is very restricted, with fewer than 30,000 
members out of a population of 8 to 9 million, according to 
the official media. 

The Constitution provides for a popularly elected National 
People's Assembly, established in 1981, and people's 
assemblies at the provincial and local level. However, 
despite recent suggestions from President Dos Santos that the 
powers and membership of the National People's Assembly be 
broadened, as of the end of 1988 only candidates chosen and 
endorsed by the party have been elected. Key members of the 
party also hold leadership positions in the other people's 
assemblies . 

Both the MPLA and UNITA have primarily ethnic bases of 
support--the MPLA among Kimbundu speakers, and UNITA among the 
Ovimbundu, Ganguela, and Lunda-Chokwe. The National Front for 
the Liberation of Angola (FLNA) has its base among the 
Bakongo, but the FLNA is no longer a major force in Angolan 
politics and has in part been integrated into the MPLA. 
Members of all of Angola's ethnic groups and religions, as 
well as women, participate in both organizations, some at high 
levels of the party. However, non-Kimbundu groups are greatly 
underrepresented in the small group within the ruling MPLA 
Central Committee and Politburo. Mesticos (Angolans of mixed 
racial background numbering only about 1 percent of the 
population) remain the most highly skilled and educated group 
in Angola and are inf luential--politically, culturally, and 
economically--beyond their numbers. 

Women and blacks were given more positions in the top 
leadership by the 1985 Second Party Congress. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government did not respond to AT * s 1987 appeal for 
information concerning numerous political detainees. The 
Government has been more forthcoming with international 
assistance groups. It allowed the International Committee of 
the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations International 
Children's Emergency Fund to provide food and medical 
assistance in areas it controls. UNITA allows the ICRC to 
conduct similar operations in areas it controls. The 
Government has not responded to ICRC requests for access to 
all persons arrested in connection with internal events and 
the military situation in the country. 



12 



ANGOLA 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Because of the disturbed situation prevailing in most of 
Angola, there is little information available on the existence 
or extent of discrimination on the basis of race, sex, 
religion, language, or social status. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Angolan workers do not have the right to form independent 
trade unions. The sole legally recognized trade union 
organization in Angola is the National Union of Angolan 
Workers (UNTA) , which was formed in the late 1950 "s as an 
appendage of the MPLA and became the ruling party's official 
labor wing after Angolan independence in 1975. The pre- 
independence Portuguese-run labor centers of rival liberation 
organizations ceased to exist soon after the MPLA took control 
of the country. 

The monopoly situation of the UNTA is ensured by the statutory 
basis of the single-union structure. Still, the activities of 
the labor central and its affiliates are tightly controlled by 
the Government and the party. The UNTA participates in 
meetings of the International Labor Organization (ILO), to 
which Angola belongs, and is affiliated to the continent-wide 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity and the Communist- 
controlled World Federation of Trade Unions. 

Strikes are illegal and considered to be a crime against the 
security of the State. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Workers do not have the right to bargain collectively. The 
Government through the Minister of Labor and Social Security 
controls the process of setting wages and benefits, but it 
coordinates with UNTA and employers. As far as is known, 
labor legislation is applied uniformly throughout the 
country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

During 1988 both sides accused each other of relying on forced 
conscription of young males for recruitment into the military 
forces. In 1984 the Angolan Government was cited by the ILO 
for being in violation of ILO Convention 105, which prohibits 
forced labor. The basis of this citation is Angolan 
legislation providing for compulsory labor for breaches of 
labor discipline and participation in strikes. The Government 
has yet to supply the ILO with a full report on the matter. 
The 1988 report of the ILO Committee of Experts indicated that 
the cited legislation remained in force and had not been 
brought into conformity with ILO Convention 105, which Angola 
ratified in 1976. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
There is no information available on this subject. 

e Acceptable Conditions of Work 
There is no information available on this subject. 



13 



BENIN 



The People's Republic of Benin is a one-party state headed by 
President Mathieu Kerekou, who came to power in 1972 in a 
military coup. President Kerekou declared Benin to be a 
Marxist-Leninist state under the direction of a single 
political party, the People's Revolutionary Party of Benin, in 
1974. The military retains heavy influence in the present 
civilian Government (7 of 15 cabinet members are military 
officers) and in the Political Bureau of the party. 

Benin's armed forces number approximately 3,000 personnel. In 
addition to the regular army, there are small navy, air force, 
and militia contingents. The army is the main internal 
security force, backed by the paramilitary gendarmerie and 
regular police units as well as the presidential guard. 

Benin's underdeveloped economy is largely based on subsistence 
agriculture, cotton production, regional trade, and a low 
level of offshore oil production. In 1988 the economy 
remained depressed due to falling world prices for exports, 
high debt servicing charges, and wide-scale unemployment. The 
Government continued to introduce an economic reform package, 
with projected assistance from the International Monetary Fund 
and World Bank, aimed at reducing the number of state 
enterprises, cutting fiscal spending, and encouraging private 
investment . 

There continued to be significant human rights problems in 
Benin in 1988, including tight restrictions on freedom of 
speech and press. Detention and mistreatment of political 
prisoners continued to be an important issue following the 
publication of a special report by Amnesty International 
(AI). The Government withstood two apparent coup plots in 
1988 and in the process detained several hundred persons. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of. the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings, although there 
were rumors of detainees dying in custody as a result of poor 
prison conditions and torture. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearances in 1988. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The Beninese penal code requires that prisoners be treated as 
appropriate to "prison discipline and security." Mistreatment 
of prisoners and detainees, however, is common. In its August 
1988 report entitled "Benin: Political Imprisonment and 
Torture," AI noted that it had received reports of 
ill-treatment of political prisoners and detainees, including 
beatings, whippings, and "rodeo" torture, in which the victim 
is allegedly forced to crawl on his hands and knees on sharp 
gravel while being beaten by his captors. 



14 



BENIN 

Prison conditions in Benin are very poor. Sanitation and 
medical facilities are deficient, and prison food is 
inadequate unless supplemented by food from friends or 
relatives. AI ' s 1988 report (covering 1987) stressed the poor 
conditions at Segbana Civil Prison, which was exacerbated by 
the authorities' denying family visits. AI noted that the 
Minister of Interior visited that prison, and subsequently 
detainees were given medical treatment. In April 1988, the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was permitted 
to visit several prisons in Benin, including several known to 
hold political detainees. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Benin's legal system provides for the review of detention by a 
court of law, but this is not applied in political cases. The 
Constitution states that no citizen may be arrested without an 
order of arrest by an established judicial body. However, 
there is no time limit with respect to charging a defendant or 
bringing the accused to trial. In practice, persons have been 
detained incommunicado, some for extended periods, without 
charge and without recourse to legal assistance or judicial 
hearing . 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has 
reported that a Beninese physician. Dr. Afolabi Biaou, was 
arrested in November 1984 and has been detained without charge 
since that time. Biaou was previously involved with the 
"Support Committee for Former Political Prisoners" in Benin 
and was allegedly arrested en route to the presidential palace 
where he had been summoned for a meeting. Other long-term 
detainees include Toko Chabi Yako, a university professor 
before his detention in 1985, and Bouraima Male Hossou, who 
has been held without charge for suspected antigovernment 
activities since December 1987. 

AI ' s 1988 report notes that in 1987 more than 80 persons had 
been held without trial since 1985 or 1986, including many 
University of Benin students. In recent years, political 
detainees and prisoners reportedly have been interrogated by 
the National Commission of Inquiry on State Security, headed 
by a senior military officer, apparently to determine the 
extent of detainee ties to opposition groups. The 
Commission's review led to the release of some detainees in 
1987 and 1988. 

In March the authorities reportedly detained over 150 
Beninese, including a large number of army officers, for 
alleged conspiracy to overthrow the Government. Many of these 
detainees were reported to have been released after 
questioning. A second coup attempt reportedly took place a 
few months later while the President was attending the 
Economic Community of West Africa summit in Togo. At least a 
dozen of Kerekou's closest associates were apparently 
involved, including the head of the presidential guard. The 
precise number of detainees at the end of 1988 was unknown. 
AI estimated that over 200 political prisoners were being held 
without charge in Benin in 1988. Most political prisoners and 
detainees in Benin continue to be held at security police 
facilities, although some individuals are reportedly held at 
military camps. 

There was no evidence that exile was used as a means of 
political control in 1988. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 



15 



BENIN 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Benin's legal system is based on French civil law and 
customary law. In recent years, the Government has used a 
civilian "Revolutionary Court System," organized on provincial 
and national levels, with the Central People's Court as the 
highest court of appeal. In September the Government held 
elections for civilians to sit on local tribunals for the 
first time. The judicial system is not permitted to function 
independently in political cases. In such instances, 
defendants may or may not be permitted legal counsel or 
granted a public trial. 

The Government rarely brings security cases to the trial 
stage. However, at the end of 1988, there were indications 
that the Government was preparing to bring a number of 
political opponents to trial, something which has not occurred 
in Benin in the past 10 years. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Benin's Constitution provides for the inviolability of the 
home and requires a warrant from a judge before the police can 
enter a residence. However, there have been repeated reports 
of forced entries into homes by security forces in political 
cases. Other reports indicate that the security police 
monitor telephones and the mail of suspected persons. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The public expression of political opinion by Beninese is 
tightly controlled. In general, opposition to government 
policies and open criticism of the Government are not 
tolerated. However, the general atmosphere in Benin is not 
one of fear and repression, and many Beninese are willing to 
discuss politics freely in private or in small groups. 

With a few exceptions, the local press, radio, and television 
are all government owned and operated. Exceptions include 
three independent newspapers, as well as La Croix, a weekly 
paper published by the Catholic Church, and Echo, a monthly 
journal of opinion circulated throughout West Africa. 
However, all publications treat political issues with 
circumspection, and journalists practice self-censorship. One 
weekly newspaper published a series of articles questioning 
the practices of the state-run commercial bank, a first for 
Benin. The official media carry only those stories that are 
approved by or serve the interests of the party or the State. 

Academic freedom is restricted with regard to political 
issues, although there is normally no censorship of foreign 
books and artistic works. Foreign periodicals are widely 
displayed on newsstands and foreign radio broadcasts are 
readily available to much of the population through shortwave 
radio. No attempt is made to interfere with radio reception. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

These freedoms are restricted in the political sphere. All 
meetings of a political nature must be sponsored by the single 
political party, and organized public opposition to the 
Government itself is not permitted. In recent years, the 



16 



Government has permitted the formation of a number of private 
social, service, and professional organizations. 

The Government cracked down on student unrest in 1988. In 
February it handled with restraint a demonstration organized 
by a number of National University of Benin students 
protesting cuts in the education budget. However, in July it 
arrested several student leaders after student demonstrations 
against the high unemployment rate. They were released less 
than a month later. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions all coexist in 
Benin, and adherence to a particular faith does not confer any 
special status or benefit. There are no restrictions on 
religious ceremonies or teachings, and religious conversion is 
freely permitted. In September the Government announced that 
national observance of two Roman Catholic holidays, the Feast 
of the Assumption and All Saints Day, would henceforth be 
restored. Several other Christian and Islamic holidays, 
including Easter, Pentecost, Ascension, Ramadan, and Tabaski, 
continue to be observed as national holidays. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Domestic movement is not restricted, although recently 
released prisoners may be subject to travel restrictions. 
Passport and exit permits are necessary for travel outside 
West African countries but are usually not difficult to obtain. 

Emigration is common: many Beninese move to neighboring 
countries to earn a living and do so without jeopardizing 
their citizenship. The Government encourages the repatriation 
of Beninese living abroad but with only limited success thus 
far. 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees, there are 3,033 identified refugees in Benin, 
largely Chadians who have fled the fighting in their country. 
Many of them are now permanently settled in Benin, although 
they are free to return to Chad if they wish. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The current one-party political system dominated by President 
Kerekou and the Political Bureau provides no mechanism for 
citizens to change their government through democratic means. 
Leadership is exercised by President Kerekou and a small group 
of senior party officials, several of whom also hold positions 
in the Government. The military continues to exert 
considerable influence within the Government. Brigadier 
General Kerekou' s 15-member Cabinet includes 7 military 
officers . 

The People's Revolutionary Party controls, among other things, 
the selection of candidates for the National Revolutionary 
Assembly--in theory the principal decisionmaking body of the 
Government--and local government bodies. The Assembly itself 
rarely takes issue with policies formulated by the party 



17 



BENIN 

leadership. The electoral process allows for some citizen 
participation in the nomination of candidates for the National 
Assembly, and party membership is not a requisite for holding 
office or for civil service employment. The final selection 
of candidates for the single national slate, however, is made 
by the party leadership. No opposition parties or slates are 
permitted. 

While there are no women in ministerial positions, a number of 
women figure prominently in executive-level positions within 
the Government. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

In the past, the Government has considered any attempt to 
investigate human rights practices in Benin to be interference 
in its internal affairs. The 1988 ICRC visit represented an 
important change, but Amnesty International has not yet been 
permitted to visit political prisoners despite repeated 
requests to do so. The establishment of the National 
Commission of Inquiry on State Security to investigate 
political detainees may have been related in part to AI ' s 
inquiries. The Government did not respond formally to AI ' s 
special report on torture. At present, there are no internal 
human rights organizations, either official or nongovernmental. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The Beninese Constitution states that women are by law the 
equals of men in the political, economic, cultural, and social 
spheres. The Constitution also guarantees that female 
employees have the right to paid maternity leave. The actual 
enjoyment of this benefit is mostly limited to civil servants 
and teachers. 

Although Beninese women have played a major role in the 
commercial sector as well as in small-scale family farming, 
they have not had the same educational opportunities as men. 
Most boys now attend primary school, but only about one out of 
two girls complete the primary grades. Nevertheless, the 
Government officially encourages new opportunities for women, 
and the ruling party's women's organization, the Revolutionary 
Women's Organization of Benin (RWOB) , focuses on women's 
issues, e.g., health care. As do other specialized party 
organizations, the RWOB serves to transmit party policy to its 
members and make known women's views to the party leadership. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

While approximately 75 percent of wage-earners belong to 
organized labor unions in Benin, all unions must join a 
general labor organization, the National Workers' Union of 
Benin (UNSTB) , an affiliate of the Communist-controlled World 
Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) . The UNSTB frequently plays 
the role of a mass organization of the People's Revolutionary 
Party. Workers are not free to organize and join labor unions 
free of government control. Benin's Constitution states that 
"union activities are guaranteed to workers" but "must be used 
for the elevation of the conscience of the proletarian class 



18 



BENIN 

and for the augmentation and continued development of 
production . " 

While the right to strike is not explicitly denied or 
protected in the Beninese labor code, the last labor strike in 
Benin occurred in 1975 and was forcefully suppressed by the 
Government after 3 days. 

Individual labor unions negotiate with employers on labor 
matters and represent workers' grievances to employers and to 
the Government. The Government often plays the role of 
arbiter. Labor legislation is applied uniformly throughout 
the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced labor is prohibited under Beninese law. There were no 
reports alleging use of forced or compulsory labor in 1988. 

d. Minimum .^ge for Employment of Children 

The Beninese labor code prohibits the employment or 
apprenticeship of children under the age of 14 in any 
enterprise. However, enforcement is erratic at best, and in a 
society as poor as Benin's, some child labor doubtless 
occurs. In the subsistence economy, children below the age of 
14 often work on family farms. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Benin's labor force of 1.9 million (out of a population of 4.5 
million) is primarily employed in agriculture (80 percent), 
with less than 2 percent of the population involved in the 
industrial sector. The Government has given vigorous support 
to policies designed to improve the conditions of workers in 
both the agricultural and industrial sectors. It has, for 
example, committed itself to the gradual extension of free or 
low-cost medical care and social services and occupational 
safety standards. 

The Beninese labor code establishes a 40-hour workweek and 
sets a minimum wage of approximately $40 per month. In many 
instances, however, the Government's ability to enforce labor 
laws and regulations in the wage sector is limited by a 
shortage of administrative and financial resources and a 
difficult economic environment in which unemployment is high. 
The minimum wage level provides for some degree of food and 
housing for a family, but would have to be supplemented by 
other means, such as some subsistence farming. 



19 



BOTSWANA 



Botswana is a multiparty democracy. Under the Constitution, 
executive power is vested in the President, currently Quett K. 
J. Masire, who was elected in 1984. The President selects the 
Cabinet from the unicameral National Assembly. While there 
are several political parties in Botswana, one party continues 
to dominate the country's politics: the Botswana Democratic 
Party (BDP) , which has held a majority in the National 
Assembly since independence in 1966 and currently controls 28 
of the 34 elective seats. All citizens, including whites who 
accepted Botswana citizenship, are free to participate fully 
in economic and political life. 

Botswana has a small defense force of 4,300 soldiers and a 
police force, numbering about 2,900. Both are subordinate to 
civilian authority. While adequate for internal security 
purposes, the army is not able to prevent incursions by the 
South African Defense Forces (SADF) against suspected ANC 
(African National Congress) targets in Botswana. 

Botswana has a mixed economy and strongly encourages private 
enterprise and free trade. Botswana's real gross dorr.estic 
product has averaged an annual 11 percent increase since 1979, 
fueled by development of the country's mineral resources. 
Annual per capita gross domestic product increased frorr. $59 in 
1966 to an estimated $1,500 in 1988. Almost 75 percent of the 
population continues to live in rural areas and is partially 
dependent for livelihood on subsistence farming and animal 
husbandry. 

Botswana's human rights record generally is very good. 
Citizens receive equal protection under the law; domestic 
political violence is rare; and public debate, including that 
in the press, is lively. Pressure from South Africa in 1988 
continued to increase tensions between the two countries. An 
SADF raid in March resulted in the deaths of three Botswana 
citizens and one South African refugee. An aborted South 
African operation in June resulted in the arrest of two South 
African commandos and several South Africans living in 
Botswana, all of whom were charged with treason. These were 
the first arrests under the 1986 National Security Act. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of government involvement in political 
killings. However, on several occasions since 1985, South 
African security forces have engaged in politically motivated 
killings in Botswana. The March attack on a house in Gaborone 
that allegedly sheltered ANC members resulted in the deaths of 
four people, three of whom were citizens of Botswana. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances 
in 1988. 



20 



BOTSWANA 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There have been reports and allegations of improper treatment 
by the police of persons in custody. Lawyers and others have 
stated that the police routinely beat up arrestees, but they 
also have indicated that the number of such illegal incidents 
is decreasing due to increased public and governmental 
awareness of the law. Systematic abuses are not officially 
condoned, and officials have been punished. 

Flogging is permitted for infractions of prison rules and is 
mandatory punishment for rape, attempted rape, armed robbery, 
burglary, and related offenses. Traditional tribal courts 
presided over by a chief, where jurisdiction is limited to 
minor offenses, may also sentence persons to be flogged. 
Currently, only men can be flogged, although the punishment 
has been proposed for women as well. 

Prison conditions allow for adeguate diet, health care, and 
visits from family members. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile. 

The Constitution contains a provision protecting citizens from 
arbitrary arrest. This provision still applies despite the 
passage of the 1986 National Security Act, which inter alia 
allows the Government to hold persons suspected of treason for 
an indefinite period. Preventive detention is illegal, and 
prisoners have a right to have the legality of their detention 
determined by a magistrate. Police are reguired to bring a 
suspect before a magistrate to be charged within 48 hours of 
arrest. There is a functioning system of bail, and defendants 
have access to lawyers of their own choosing. There are no 
public defenders in Botswana, although some attorneys are 
willing to take certain cases pro bono. In security cases not 
covered under the 1986 Act, the suspect must be arraigned 
within 96 hours of arrest. In nonsecurity cases, suspects 
must be released after 48 hours unless the magistrate issues a 
warrant of detention, which is valid for 14 days. Every 14 
days the police must appear before the magistrate to show that 
they are making progress in the case. To date there have been 
no known abuses of this system. 

The Constitution allows the President to declare a person a 
prohibited immigrant and deport him from the country. No 
explanation is required nor is any normally given, and the 
order is not subject to judicial review. A prohibited 
immigrant can reenter Botswana only with the permission of the 
President or his designated representative. In the past, this 
authority has rarely been used, but in 1988 several South 
African refugees were declared prohibited immigrants, possibly 
due to South African Government pressures. Botswana is not a 
signatory to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 
and does not promptly or automatically notify embassies when 
foreign citizens are detained or arrested. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial. 

The right to a fair public trial is provided by law and 
honored in practice; trials involving national security, 
however, may be closed to the public. Defendants are entitled 
to counsel, and consultation between defendants and counsel 



21 



BOTSWANA 

may be held in private. There are clearly defined appeal 
procedures. The judiciary is independent of the executive and 
the legislature and consists of a High Court (which is the 
trial court with general civil and criminal jurisdiction). 
Court of Appeals, local magistrate courts, and the customary 
courts. The High Court has ruled that the right against 
self-incrimination exists in the courts (silence cannot be 
construed as guilt). While the burden of proving guilt is on 
the prosecution in ordinary criminal cases, certain broadly 
worded provisions of the National Security Act of 1986 appear 
to shift the burden to the accused to establish his innocence 
in security cases. It is not clear how the Act might be 
construed in practice, however; in the one case where charges 
were brought under the Act, the High Court judge dismissed 
them. 

Botswana created a customary court of appeal in 1986, 
permitting cases tried in the traditional court system (which 
exists alongside the magistrate courts) the right to appeal 
judgments in familial and property cases. Since the court 
began operation, several hundred cases have been appealed. 

There are no political prisoners in Botswana. However, two 
South African commandos and several south Africans living in 
Botswana were arrested under the National Security Act in 
June, following an aborted South African commando operation, 
and charged with treason. The Government has followed 
established judicial procedures in handling their cases, e.g., 
open hearings. The trial began in October in the High Court 
at Francistown and resulted in sentences of 10 years in prison 
and eight strokes with the cane for causing grievous 
injuries. The national security charges were dropped. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

These rights are safeguarded by law and respected in 
practice. A search warrant issued by a magistrate is required 
for an official to enter a private residence, except in cases 
of suspected diamond theft, drug trafficking, or national 
security matters. There were no reported instances in which 
this authority was used for diamond or drug-related cases in 
1988. The Government did not state whether the new National 
Security Act powers to search without warrant were used in 
several of the cases arising from the South African commando 
operation in June. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedom of speech and of the press are provided for by the 
Constitution and are respected in practice. People speak 
freely both in public and in private, and debate is open in 
the National Assembly. The government-owned newspaper and 
radio continue to report statements by all opposition 
parties. Three independent weekly newspapers publish articles 
on a wider range of views than the government-owned media. 
However, they exercise some self-censorship, particularly on 
matters concerning the military and national security issues. 
Academic freedom is respected. 



22 



BOTSWANA 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Freedom of assembly is a well-established tradition in 
Botswana, as exemplified by the Kgotla, a communal gathering 
conducted similarly to a New England town meeting, in which 
citizens freely question leaders and voice opinions on local 
politics. Kgotla meetings are regularly used by political 
candidates and Members of Parliament, including ministers, to 
explain their programs. Large gatherings of people require 
local police approval, which is routinely given. Group 
demonstrations are permitted as long as order is maintained, 
but organizers of such demonstrations must submit a detailed 
plan in advance and are held personally responsible for 
ensuring the plan is followed. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The open practice of religion is permitted and encouraged. 
There is no state religion. While most residents identify 
themselves with Christian denominations, active groups of 
Hindus, Muslims, Baha'is, and others practice their faiths 
freely. Religious affiliation is neither an advantage nor a 
disadvantage politically or socially. Religious conversion is 
permitted, and missionaries are allowed to enter the country 
and proselytize. Foreign clergy are also permitted to enter 
Botswana and serve expatriate congregations. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Botswana citizens are subject to virtually no restrictions on 
emigration or repatriation. Domestic and foreign travel is 
unrestricted, and passports are easily obtained. Refugees 
documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) are generally required to live in the 
settlement at Dukwe in northern Botswana where conditions are 
relatively good. Refugees may be authorized to live elsewhere 
for documented reasons such as employment and schooling but 
are not permitted to accept jobs which could be filled by 
local citizens. Due to allegations from some neighboring 
countries that refugees are using Botswana as a sanctuary in 
which to pursue activities against their respective home 
countries, Botswana has declared that Dukwe residents found 
outside the settlement without permission will be considered 
to have abandoned refugee status and will be repatriated as a 
deterrent to prohibited activities by other refugees. 

Since a visit to the Dukwe settlement by Joshua Nkomo in May, 
pursuant to the unity agreement between the two main political 
parties in Zimbabwe, many of the almost 4,000 Zimbabwean 
refugees have been voluntarily repatriated from Dukwe without 
incident. The status of the remaining refugees is unclear at 
this time. Many of those who remain have lived in Botswana 
for more than 10 years and may apply for Botswana citizenship. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Botswana is ruled by a government freely elected every 5 
years. In the 1984 national election to the National Assembly 
(the fifth since Botswana became independent), an estimated 70 
percent of the eligible voters registered, and 86 percent of 



23 



BOTSWANA 

the registered voters cast their ballots. In 1986 and 1987 
Botswana held important byelections in which opposition party- 
candidates won considerable majorities despite hard-fought 
campaigns by the country's ruling party. 

There are five registered political parties in Botswana, three 
of which are represented in the country's National Assembly. 
Opposition parties are particularly strong in the urban areas, 
including Gaborone, Francistown, and Jwaneng . However, the 
Botswana Democratic Party continues to dominate the country's 
politics, having held a substantial majority in the National 
Assembly since independence in 1966. 

The political rights of women and minority groups are 
generally observed. There are two female Members of 
Parliament: the Minister of External Affairs, and the 
Executive Secretary of the majority party. Several members of 
minority ethnic groups are also represented in the National 
Assembly; the speaker of the National Assembly is white, and 
several cabinet ministers are from small minority ethnic 
groups . 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Botswana's Department of Labor has consistently responded 
promptly and forthrightly to inquiries on the human rights 
situation in Botswana. The Government usually refrains from 
public comment on alleged human rights violations in 
neighboring countries, but consistently condemns apartheid and 
strongly advocates positive socioeconomic development in South 
Africa. There are no groups in Botswana whose primary purpose 
is to monitor human rights developments. Botswana cooperates 
with international agencies concerned with human rights, most 
notably the UNHCR, which maintains offices in Botswana. The 
African Association on Human and Peoples' Rights in 
Development is based in Botswana, and a local chapter has been 
set up to monitor human rights in Botswana. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Ethnic differences exist in Botswana, though they play a 
marginal role in the country's politics. Ninety-five percent 
of the population is made up of Tswana who are divided into 8 
subgroups. Only the approximately 50,000 Basarwa, or Bushmen, 
remain generally unrepresented in government. Most of the 
Basarwa have begun the process of assimilation into society 
and have full voting rights. However, because the Basarwa 
live primarily in remote rural areas and have little contact 
with the population centers of Botswana, they remain far 
behind in terms of governmental educational and economic 
assistance programs, and consequently have participated only 
marginally in the country's political life. The Government 
announced plans in 1988 to move the remaining traditional 
Basarwa hunter3--approximately 1,200 tribespeople--f rom the 
central Kalahari game reserve to other settlements. 

Women hold at least 25 percent of the paid jobs in Botswana. 
An estimated 40 percent of the central government employees 
are women, some of them in high-level positions. While there 
is little overt discrimination, social custom elevates the 
rights and privileges of men above those of women. Due in 
part to a high birthrate out of wedlock and the absence of 



90-6A1 - 89 - 2 



24 



BOTSWANA 

many men as migrant laborers in South Africa, some 40 percent 
of rural households are headed by women. Generally speaking, 
women's economic opportunit ies--access to capital, labor, 
draft animals, seeds for farming--are significantly less than 
those of men. Women may choose between civil marriage, in 
which all property is held in common, or customary marriage, 
which recognizes individual property brought to a marriage. 
However, most women are not aware of the implications of these 
alternatives. Often a married woman is unable to get a bank 
loan without the signature of her husband, and an unmarried 
woman must get the signature of her father. Under the 
citizenship laws, a woman cannot transmit Botswana citizenship 
to her child unless she is unmarried. This can cause 
hardships for children born to noncitizen fathers, 
particularly refugees. Although women's rights are not yet a 
major public issue in Botswana, this is a recognized area of 
potential future social conflict. Some initiatives undertaken 
by the Government include assistance in the publication of a 
women's rights handbook, efforts to involve more women in 
development activities, and the establishment of preference 
points for women seeking government-sponsored development 
loans . 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers are free to establish or join labor unions. Unionsare 
important in the country's large mining sector and in related 
industries but have not developed a substantial base in other 
areas of the economy. Unions freely associate with 
international organizations, and members regularly attend 
major international conferences. The Botswana Federation of 
Trade Unions (BFTU) is affiliated with the International 
Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and is also a 
member of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity and 
the South African Trade Union Coordination Council. 

Unions have the right to strike, but that right is limited by 
a requirement for government arbitration. In practice, 
strikes are relatively rare and usually quickly settled. 

Independent of government control or party affiliation, unions 
in Botswana actively strive to represent their members. 
Government regulations, however, require that all union 
leaders work full time in the trade their union represents, a 
practice criticized by the ICFTU. The ICFTU has also noted 
that "the dissolution of trade union organizations by 
government decree is possible under the law at all times." 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions have the right to organize and to bargain 
collectively. Collective bargaining is common in the mining 
sector (where workers are organized) and uncommon elsewhere as 
workers are not organized. The Botswana Federation of Trade 
Unions is working on provisions to prevent antiunion 
discrimination. Although workers can be dismissed with two 
months' pay, this tactic is rarely used. 

Unions have chafed under government regulations which prohibit 
financial contributions to unions from outside Botswana. 
Labor laws apply uniformly throughout the country. There are 
no export processing zones in Botswana. 



25 



BOTSWANA 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced or compulsory labor is not practiced in Botswana and is 
specifically prohibited in the Constitution. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Botswana law prohibits the employment of children 12 years and 
under by anyone except members of the child's immediate 
family. No juvenile under the age of 15 may be employed in 
any industry, and only those over 16 may be employed in night 
work. No person 16 or younger is permitted to work in 
hazardous jobs, including mining. Moreover, Botswana law 
protects young people from recruiters for jobs outside the 
country. There is no evidence that child labor laws are 
regularly breached. Although education is not compulsory, it 
is almost universally available, and most children attend 
school at least through the primary grades. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The law provides for minimum working standards, including job 
safety, a maximum 48-hour workweek, and a minimumi wage of 
approximately $85 per month. This amount is barely adequate 
for one person to maintain a decent standard of living, and in 
most cases workers must supplement this amount through other 
means, such as subsistence farming. Most Botswana families 
have more than one wage earner. Women are not permitted to 
work as miners because of the dangers of that occupation. For 
some jobs during certain seasons, (such as in agriculture 
during the harvest season) , Botswana law permits a workweek 
longer than 48 hours. Most major manufacturers adhere to the 
labor laws, including payment of overtime wages (time and a 
half). Some smaller employers, however, fail to pay overtime, 
and no action is taken against them. 



26 



BURKINA FASO 



Burkina Faso is ruled by a military regime headed by Captain 
Blaise Compaore who took power on October 15, 1987, from 
Thomas Sankara in the country's fourth military coup since 
1980. The new military regime continued the ban on political 
parties and activities and gave no indication that the country 
will return to constitutional rule. Instead, President 
Compaore has moved to firm up a narrow political base by 
forming a "Popular Front" of various leftwing groups, military 
officers, and miscellaneous civilians to assist in running the 
Government. He also uses a network of revolutionary 
committees (CR's), loosely organized at national, regional, 
and local levels to mobilize the population and promote 
undefined revolutionary goals. 

The Burkina Faso armed forces number about 7,500 members, 
including 5,200 in the army, 100 in the air force, and 2,200 
in the paramilitary gendarmerie and the police. All police 
and internal security forces are controlled by the Ministry of 
Defense. 

Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorer countries, is 
overwhelmingly tied to subsistence agriculture, with 90 
percent of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture 
is, however, highly vulnerable to fluctuations in rainfall. 
Frequent drought, lack of communications and other 
infrastructure, a low literacy rate, and a stagnant economy 
are all longstanding problems. The country has a per capita 
income of $140 per year. 

Human rights continued to be tightly circumscribed in 1988. 
The holding of elections for local CR's and other 
government-sponsored mass organizations resulted in a slight 
easing of restrictions on political debate conducted in 
private. Public speech and the press remained tightly 
controlled. Although the Government released from detention 
or reinstated to their jobs a number of opponents of the 
Sankara regime, it detained scores of people who had been 
associated with the former regime. Many of these detainees 
were severely mistreated and later released without charge, 
but an unknown number, including several exministers, were 
still being held at the end of 1988. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no known political killings in 1988. However, in 
November a senior military officer and his wife were 
assassinated in their home in Bobo Dioulasso. Subsequently, 
the Government arrested at least 10 soldiers in connection 
with the murders. The soldiers allegedly had some connection 
with an exiled opposition leader. Radio Burkina announced on 
December 29 that a revolutionary military tribunal had 
sentenced seven soldiers to death and one to 20-years in 
prison and had acquitted two others. While details were 
lacking, the authorities reportedly carried out the death 
sentences before the end of the year. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearance. 



27 



BURKINA FASO 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Mistreatment of detainees is common. After the coup of 
October 15, 1987, the Government arrested more than 40 members 
of the previous government. There were several reports of 
torture of these detainees, e.g., former ministers Valere Some 
and Firmin Diallo. In at least one case there is evidence 
that police or the gendarmerie had severely beaten a former 
government official for several days before allowing him 
medical care. In May 1988, the gendarmerie detained 
approximately 20-50 students who had participated in an 
antigovernment demonstration and beat several of them, 
allegedly to "teach them a lesson" before releasing them. 
Prison conditions are poor. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

There were continuing reports of arbitrary arrest, followed at 
times by incommunicado detention for days or months without 
charge, in 1988. The law permits preventive detention without 
charge for a maximum of 72 hours, renewable for a single 
72-hour period in criminal cases. In practice, there are 
frequent violations of this restriction in cases involving 
both Burkinabe and foreign nationals, especially in political 
cases. In addition, in cases of emergency or national 
security, the military code, which provides for indefinite 
detention beyond 72 hours, overrides the civil code. Access 
to lawyers is not normally permitted in security cases, 
although it is provided for by law. 

The Government detained as many as 100 persons for political 
reasons during 1988, including as many as 50 students arrested 
in May for planning or participating in a pro-Sankara 
demonstration. Most of the students were released within days 
of their arrest, but two or three were held for 5 months. 
Fifteen or more draftees of the National Popular Service who 
decided to name their subunit after the late President Sankara 
were held without charge for about 2 months before being 
released. 

During 1988 the Government released some of the Sankara 
loyalists who had been detained without charge following the 
1987 coup, as well as a number of persons who had been 
detained in connection with some explosions in Bobo Dioulasso 
in 1985. At the end of 1988, an unknown number of persons 
remained in detention, and there was no indication whether 
they would be brought to trial. A partial list of detainees 
includes three former ministers in the Sankara government 
under house arrest and several military personnel, including 
the military aide-de-camp to Sankara, in prison. In addition, 
about 20 former government employees, who appeared before a 
people's court in 1988 on corruption charges, remained in 
detention (see Section I.e.). 

Some intellectuals, military officers, and former government 
officials have stayed in self-imposed exile, partly due to 
fear for their safety should they return. The new Government 
has encouraged opponents of the previous regime to return 
home. Several political opponents convicted in absentia of 
common crimes while they were in exile were pardoned on August 
4, but none has yet returned. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 



28 



BURKINA FASO 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The regular judiciary, patterned after the French system, has 
continued to function for most criminal and civil cases. 
Defendants traditionally receive a fair trial and are 
represented by counsel. In 1987 the Government began the 
practice of appointing civil service attorneys to represent 
those who do not wish to retain, or are unable to afford, a 
private attorney. While this practice should theoretically 
make legal aid widely available, some observers believe this 
is the first step in the gradual elimination of independent 
lawyers . 




The military Government convened a people's court in June to 
try the cases of approximately 20 businessmen and former 
government employees accused of corruption. Subsequently, the 
Government overturned the court's verdicts, following angry 
public reaction to the light sentences given politically 
influential former government employees. A new trial has not 
been set, and the accused remained in jail at the end of 
1988. The Government pardoned and released a number of 
prisoners in 1988, including Paul Rouamba, who had been 
implicated in plotting to overthrow the Government in 1984. 

The trial of the soldiers mentioned in Section l.a. was 
conducted in a military tribunal closed to the public, and at 
year's end there was no information available about the 
proceedings . 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Government authorities generally do not interfere in the daily 
lives of ordinary citizens, and there is no general monitoring 
of private correspondence or telephones. In theory, homes may 
be searched only under authority of a warrant issued by the 
attorney general. However, in national security cases, a 
special law permits surveillance, searches, and monitoring of 
telephones and correspondence without a warrant. This law is 
used against persons suspected of opposition to the Government. 

The Compaore Government encourages participation in the CR's 
and also in social class-based organizations being formed to 
support the Popular Front . However, it is not clear if lack 
of participation will result in firings from civil service 
positions, as was the case in previous regimes. Generally, 
pressure to participate in government-sponsored groups appears 
to have eased. 



29 



BURKINA FASO 
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

While there is no formal government censorship, the Government 
employs intimidating methods to limit freedom of speech and 
press. For example, repeated references by the regim.e to 
enemies of the State at home and abroad inhibit both 
government-employed journalists and ordinary citizens from 
expressing critical views. Similarly, it uses occasional 
dismissals from government service and arbitrary arrest to 
.quash debate on political topics. 

Under the control of the Minister of Information, the media, 
which consists of a daily newspaper, a weekly magazine, and 
radio and television stations, are all government owned, and 
all journalists are civil servants. The media does not engage 
in serious criticism of the Government and reflects government 
positions on both international and national issues. 
Journalists who try to report stories without political bias 
may be replaced for failing to support sufficiently the 
political views of the Government. The Government quickly 
silenced a satirical government-owned newspaper, which 
criticized selected officials and programs, and stopped 
transmission of a small private all-music radio station 
authorized to broadcast in the last days of the Sankara 
administration. 

Foreign newspapers and magazines entered the country freely 
during 1988. For the most part, foreign journalists traveled 
and filed stories without censorship and enjoyed access to 
government officials. However, in April two foreign 
journalists were detained for several hours and questioned, 
and one was deported after reporting allegations of 
mistreatment of detainees. After publication of antiregime 
stories in 1988 by the magazine Jeune Afrique, the government 
radio station attacked the magazine's reporting. The 
Government did not ban future importation of the publication, 
but later the local distributor for Jeune Afrique (a French 
national) was arrested, charged with espionage and possession 
of a weapon (a pistol), and deported to France. 

Films are subject to censorship by a review board which 
includes religious authorities as well as government 
officials. During 1988 a wide variety of American, French, 
and other foreign films were shown, and there were no known 
instances of political censorship of movies. There is no 
interference with international radio broadcasts. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Under both the Sankara and Compaore Governments, political 
parties have been banned, and administrative permission is 
generally required for assemblies of any kind. Nonpolitical 
associations for business, religious, cultural, sporting, and 
other purposes are allowed and experience no difficulty in 
obtaining permission to meet, nor in associating with 
international bodies in their fields. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Burkina Faso is a secular state, and there is no official 



30 



BURKINA FASO 

discrimination on religious grounds. Islam and Christianity 
exist side by side, with almost 50 percent of the population 
Muslim and about 20 percent Christian. The remainder of the 
population practices traditional African religions. Muslim 
and Christian holidays are recognized as national holidays. 
Social mobility and access to modern sector jobs are neither 
linked to, nor restricted by, religious affiliations. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Travelers within Burkina Faso are routinely stopped at police 
and military checkpoints. There appears to be little 
restriction on foreign travel for business and tourism. Exit 
permits, once used to limit movements of workers to 
neighboring countries, particularly to the Cote d'lvoire where 
at least 1 million or more Burkinabe continue to reside and 
work, are no longer required. For several months, the new 
regime did not allow Sankara's widow and her children to leave 
the country, but following appeals by African heads of state 
and the Association of African Jurists, the family departed in 
July. 

Refugees are accepted freely in Burkina Faso, and attempts are 
made to provide for their care in cooperation with the United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. There were 
approximately 270 refugees and displaced persons in Burkina 
Faso at the end of 1988, mainly from Chad. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Neither under President Sankara, nor under President Blaise 
Compaore, have citizens had the right to change their 
government through democratic procedures. Despite four 
changes in leadership since 1980, the military continue to 
dominate the political process. President Compaore has 
expressed a desire to create a more democratic system, but he 
has not publicly mentioned permitting national elections or 
political parties in the future. He relies on an amorphous 
grouping of people, including military officers, to help run 
the Government and has a loose network of revolutionary 
committees (CR's) throughout the country to mobilize support. 
Elections were held in 1988 for lower-level positions in the 
government-sponsored mass organizations, but the upper 
leadership is appointed by Compaore, and the mass 
organizations have no official role in government decisions. 
Some opposition groups began to form clandestinely in 1988, 
notably a pro-Sankara opposition called the Democratic and 
Popular Union-Thomas Sankara. Four women are members of the 
28-member Cabinet. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The new Government has made no attempt to hinder the 
activities of international human rights organizations. It 
replied to at least one of Amnesty International's (AI) 1987 
inquiries, i.e., regarding the detention of Sankara 
officials. (AI questioned the accuracy of the reply.) A 
government-supported organization lobbies against apartheid in 
South Africa and other racial oppression, but it makes no 
effort to examine domestic human rights issues. 



31 



BURKINA FASO 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Minority ethnic groups are as likely to be represented in the 
inner circles of the Government as are the dominant Mossi, who 
comprise 50 percent of the population. Government decisions 
do not favor one ethnic group over another. One ostensible 
reason for the 1983 increase in administrative regions from 11 
to 30 was to improve access of minority groups to local 
administrative authorities. 

The role of women in Burkina Faso is still limited by the 
cultural orientation of a rural African society. Women are 
important in family farming and in the market economy. The 
Government has continued the previous government's commitment 
to expanding opportunities for women, including in cabinet and 
civil service positions. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

There are four labor f ederations--of which the largest is 
affiliated with the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions. There are also a number of autonomous unions. The 
federations take turns representing organized labor at the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) meetings and 
participate in African regional labor meetings as well. 

Organized labor continues to be an important force in 
Burkina. All unions jealously guard their limited 
independence from the Government. However, despite legal 
rights, the unions have been prevented from engaging in 
activities the Government opposes. Many labor leaders were 
arrested and held for long periods under the previous regime. 
Some were reportedly tortured. The new Government's labor 
policy is not clear, but after the coup it immediately 
released the trade unionists then in detention. 

Organized labor has the legal right to strike, but the Sankara 
Government eliminated this right in practice. The Compaore 
Government has not faced major labor unrest, but some minor 
strikes occurred in 1988. 

The ILO Freedom of Association Committee in March dismissed a 
case brought in April 1987 by the Trade Union Confederation of 
Burkina Faso (CSB) which alleged that new government 
regulations infringed on the freedom of association of public 
officials and that several CSB leaders had been detained. 
This followed a communication from the Government indicating 
that all trade unionists had been released and that 
regulations in question would be revised. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions have the right to bargain for increased wages and other 
benefits within a specific bargaining unit such as a company 
or factory but cannot bargain industry wide. They represent 
the interests of their members in the private and public 
sectors, as well as before the labor inspection service of the 
Government and before the courts. 

There are no export processing zones in Burkina Faso. Labor 
legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country. 



32 



BURKINA FASO 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
Forced labor is not employed in Burkina Faso. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The labor code sets the minimum age for employment at 14, the 
average age for completion of basic secondary school. 
However, the Government lacks the means to enforce this 
provision adequately, even in the small wage sector. Most 
children actually begin work at an earlier age owing to the 
large number of small, family subsistence farms and the 
traditional apprenticeship system. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

A minimum monthly wage of about $75 and a maximum workweek of 
48 hours are stipulated by the labor code, as are safety and 
health provisions. A system of government insp'ections and 
labor courts ensures that these provisions are applied in the 
small industrial and commercial sectors, but they have been 
impossible to enforce in the dominant subsistence agriculture 
sector which involves 90 percent of the population. As one of 
the poorest countries in the world, wages are not high, but 
the wrenching disequilibrium seen in many urban cities between 
wages and expenditures is not common in Burkina. 



33 



e 



BURUNDI 



The Republic of Burundi is a one-party state led by President 
Pierre Buyoya, an army major who came to power in a bloodless 
coup in September 1987. The 30-member Military Committee for 
National Salvation rules the nation, exercising legislative 
and regulatory powers while the Constitution is officially 
suspended. The 23-member Cabinet, appointed by the Military 
Committee and composed of 20 civilians and 3 military 
officers, formulates and proposes policies and manages the 
day-to-day business of government. As President, head of the 
Military Committee, and Minister of Defense, Buyoya plays the 
major policymaking role. The National Party for Unity and 
Progress (UPRONA) is the only political party. The dominance 
of the minority Tutsi over the majority Hutu ethnic group has 
been the central social and political reality of Burundi for 
several centuries. After assuming power last year, Buyoya 
announced a policy of tribal reconciliation and promised to 
increase Hutu participation in the country's emerging 
political institutions. Slow but steady progress towards that 
end was interrupted temporarily by a serious outbreak of 
ethnic violence in the north of Burundi in mid-August. 

The Burundi Armed Forces, while small in number, are well 
equipped and well trained to maintain law and order. In 
addition, there is a regular police force responsible for 
public order and a separate force of security police 
responsible primarily for internal state security, including 
the monitoring of dissent. The State Security Police have th^ 
same powers of arrest as the regular police and are subject to 
the same process of judicial review. 

Burundi is a poor country with one of the highest population 
densities in Africa. The AIDS epidemic has made serious 
inroads into the Burundi population and is expected to 
adversely affect economic activity in coming years. Most 
Burundi (90 percent) earn their livelihood as subsistence 
farmers working small, privately owned plots. The small 
monetary economy is based on coffee, which accounts for nearly 
90 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Burundi, with a 
population of 5 million, is one of the highest per capita 
recipients of foreign assistance in Africa. 

Throughout 1988 the Buyoya regime continued its policy of 
correcting the human rights abuses of the former Bagaza 
Government, particularly as regards religious persecution. An 
anticorruption campaign began in earnest in early summer, with 
a number of high officials losing their jobs. The major 
development in 1988 was the outbreak of ethnic violence 
between Hutus and Tutsis in mid-August--the first serious 
ethnic strife since 1972. Details regarding the extent and 
nature of the violence are still sketchy, but it appears that 
at least 5,000 people lost their lives in northern Burundi 
after Hutu peasants began killing local Tutsi inhabitants and 
the military interceded forcefully to restore order, killing 
several thousand Hutus. Approximately 48,000 Burundi refugees 
fled to southern Rwanda in the wake of the violence. The 
killings were limited to the two northern provinces where the 
initial massacres took place, and no massive reprisals 
occurred in the weeks following the violence. Afterwards, 
President Buyoya pledged to accelerate his policies of tribal 
reconciliation and established the Commission on National 
Unity, an ethnically balanced body of "wise men" who will 
study the ethnic problem and make recommendations. In October 
he reorganized the Cabinet to give Hutus 12 of the 24 



34 



BURUNDI 

portfolios, including that of Prime Minister. By the end of 
the year all but a few thousand refugees had returned to 
Burundi voluntarily. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

In mid-August 1988, bands of Hutu peasants attacked and killed 
numerous Tutsi families in the northern communes of Ntega and 
Marangara. Unofficial initial estimates of the dead ranged 
from several hundred to 5,000. Despite government charges 
that the violence was incited by activist Hutu refugees who 
oppose the regime, no firm evidence exists that it was 
politically inspired. These initial killings were followed by 
the intervention of the Tutsi-dominated army to restore 
order. During its intervention, the army engaged in reprisal 
killings of unarmed civilians. The Government acknowledged 
that innocent civilians were among the victims of army actions 
to restore order, but it denied vengeance killings took 
place. The Government has taken no public action to punish 
those soldiers who engaged in reprisals against innocent 
civilians. The Government's estimate of the total number of 
deaths resulting from the violence is 5,000--of which it 
claims unofficially about 3,000 were Tutsi killed in the 
initial violence and 2,000 were Hutus killed in clashes with 
the army. Unofficial estimates are much higher in regard to 
Hutu deaths. Press reports speculated that as many as 24,000 
Hutus may have been killed, but more credible estimates are of 
5,000 to 10,000 dead, Hutu and Tutsi combined. There were 
unsubstantiated allegations that, following the mass violence, 
the army targeted individual, educated Hutus for killing. 
While there may never be an accurate accounting of the 
casualties, it is possible that planned censuses of the 
affected areas, conducted by the Government with the 
assistance of international organizations, may make more 
accurate estimates possible. 

b. Disappearance 

There are a small number of unresolved cases of disappearance 
connected with the ethnic violence in the north. It remains 
to be determined whether the people in question took refuge 
elsewhere, are in hiding, are in official custody, or were 
killed. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Torture is forbidden by law, but cruel treatment of suspects 
or detainees has occurred in the form of beatings at the time 
of arrest or interrogation. These beatings, when combined 
with other harsh conditions, have led upon occasion to serious 
injury or even death. One detainee reportedly died in early 
September due to beating during questioning, and the public 
prosecutor responsible for the case was relieved of his duties. 

Since coming to power, the Buyoya regime has allowed regular 
inspection of prison conditions by the International Committee 
of the Red Cross (ICRC). Although the Government assured the 
ICRC in September of continued access to prisoners, it 
restricted access to the detainees suspected of involvement in 



35 



BURUNDI 

the ethnic massacres until early December, when a full 
schedule of visits resumed. Prison conditions remain harsh 
due to lack of adequate hygiene, medical care, and food. The 
Government recognizes the severity of this problem and has 
begun a program of prison renovation. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Police officers are empowered to detain suspects without an 
arrest warrant, but must submit a written report to the public 
prosecutor's office within 24 hours. The public prosecutor 
examines the report and can either order the release of the 
detainee or issue an arrest warrant valid for 5 days. The 
public prosecutor then must state the charges before a 
magistrate in the presence of the detainee. The magistrate 
either releases the detainee or issues orders confirming the 
detention, initially for 5 days and subsequently for 30-day 
periods as necessary to prepare the case for trial. Bail is 
set only in cases of embezzlement or similar crimes involving 
financial wrongdoing. In general, the prescribed procedures 
for arrest and imprisonment are followed. However, time 
limits for issuance of arrest warrants and appearance before a 
magistrate are often exceeded, usually due to a shortage of 
magistrates and prosecutors. The Government has begun to 
address this problem by increasing the number of magistrates. 

The total number of detentions connected with the ethnic 
violence in the north is unknown, although one credible 
estimate of detainees is 50 persons. Six signatories of an 
open letter criticizing the army's role in the ethnic 
massacres were still in detention at the end of 1988 and have 
not yet been charged with crimes. Several Hutu educators and 
civil servants in northern Burundi were detained in September 
under suspicion of having planned or been otherwise involved 
in the violence. Many are still in detention, but none has as 
yet been charged with any crimes. 

The Government does not exile its nationals as a means of 
political control. Since his ouster, ex-President Bagaza has 
been denied permission to return to Burundi. However, the 
Buyoya Government has stated he may return to Burundi if he 
negotiates the conditions with the present regime. Citizens 
of other countries suspected of criminal activity or lacking 
proper residency documents are often expelled. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The judiciary's independence is limited by the requirement to 
adhere to the guidance and recommendations of the party, the 
Government, and the President. Judges are appointed by and 
serve at the pleasure of the President. Though court 
decisions cannot be overturned by the executive branch, the 
President has the power to pardon or reduce sentences. In 
cases of political interest, the Government has occasionally 
interfered with the judiciary. In July, following the 
judiciary's acquittal of a former government minister of 
corruption charges, the President dismissed the President of 
the Supreme Court. This judge was accused of having taken 
bribes to acquit the former minister, but no proof of the 
alleged bribe has been made public. The Government also 
subsequently replaced judicial (and law enforcement) personnel 
at every level — Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, Superior 



36 



BURUNDI 

Courts, magistrates, prosecutors, and investigators--in six 
different provinces. 

Burundi has separate court systems to deal with military, 
civil/criminal, and state security cases. Military tribunals 
have jurisdiction only over military personnel. The State 
Security Court has jurisdiction over both civilian and 
military personnel, and its proceedings need not be made 
public. To date, this Court has been used only once, in 
prosecuting ex-President Micombero in the mid-1970's. Burundi 
law provides the right to counsel, and indigents are provided 
defense counsel by the State. Pretrial proceedings may 
involve lengthy investigations. The courts are hampered by a 
lack of trained legal personnel and by heavy case loads. 

Following the September 1987 coup d'etat, the Buyoya 
Government released all political prisoners or detainees in 
Burundi. Six former officials of the Bagaza regime are in 
prison, charged with criminal, not political, offenses 
(primarily corruption). One former minister was convicted of 
fraud in October 1988 and sentenced to 8 years in prison, but 
none of the others have yet been brought to trial. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The inviolability of private correspondence and of the home 
are enshrined in the (suspended) Constitution and are 
respected in practice. A judicial warrant is required for a 
law enforcement official to enter and search a private 
residence, and this requirement is respected in practice. 
Membership in the political party (UPRONA) and its affiliated 
organizations is open to all but is not required. The State 
Security Office monitors political dissent through the State 
Security Police and by employing informers who report on 
discontent and dissent as well as on criminal activity. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

These freedoms are significantly restricted. Since the 
beginning of the Buyoya regime, there has been an 
unprecedented public debate on formerly taboo subjects, such 
as ethnic relations and official corruption. The debate has 
been especially spirited in UPRONA party meetings, which is 
the form of dialog officially encouraged by government 
authorities. The Government's tolerance for public criticism 
outside party forums is limited, however. Many of the 
signatories of an open letter critical of the Army's role in 
the ethnic killings either lost their jobs, were suspended 
from studies, or were detained. 

The Government controls all domestic print and broadcast 
media. The French-language daily and Kirundi-language weekly 
papers are published by the Ministry of Information, which 
also operates the domestic radio and television stations. The 
media are traditionally required to support the fundamental 
policies of the party and the Government. Some criticism of 
the Government is permitted in the printed press, but 
journalists are state employees and subject to disciplinary 
action if their criticism goes beyond what is considered 
tolerable. The Government rarely interferes with the 
distribution of foreign news publications and never interferes 
with radio reception from foreign sources. Public censorship 



37 



BURUNDI 

occurs only in the case of sexually explicit foreign film 
material or publications. 

Academic freedom has been limited in the past in that primary 
and secondary school teachers were expected to support 
government policies. At the university, professors come from 
many different countries, both East and West, and are 
permitted to lecture freely in their subject areas, conduct 
research, and draw independent conclusions. They are expected 
to and do refrain from commenting publicly on domestic 
political issues. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

In the aftermath of the August 1988 ethnic massacres, the 
Government prohibited all public meetings of more than five 
persons without specific authorization. The Government 
announced this as a temporary measure and lifted it on October 
31 along with a curfew and other temporary security 
restrictions. As far as is known, the Government has never 
refused to grant authorization when requested. The Government 
permits nonpolitical private associations but requires that 
they be registered and accorded legal recognition before they 
may function. No political associations other than the ruling 
party are permitted. Several persons who tried to revive a 
banned second party, PALIPEHUTU (Liberation Party for the Hutu 
People), were briefly jailed in March 1988. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

During his first year in office. President Buyoya made 
sweeping changes in Burundi's policies toward organized 
religion, reversing the repression of religious expression 
under the Bagaza regime. Buyoya freed all religious 
prisoners; reopened the closed churches; returned all 
confiscated church properties, including houses and schools; 
authorized weekday masses; reinstituted the activities of 
catechists; and authorized church schools (including 
seminaries and literacy/catechism classes), publications, and 
radio broadcasts. The Government is negotiating with the 
churches regarding compensation for property seized by the 
former regime. Some of the missionaries who were expelled 
under Bagaza are being allowed to return, and there are no 
restrictions on new missionaries. Organized religion, in 
particular the Catholic Church, plays a key role in the 
development of the country and the lives of both rural and 
urban Burundi. 

Religious expression continues to be regulated by civil laws 
and regulations. Religious organizations are subject to the 
same rules and restrictions which apply to secular 
organizations. All religious associations must receive 
approval from the Government to operate in Burundi, and a 
Burundi citizen must be appointed as legal representative of 
each association. Religious groups may not engage in 
political activity critical of the Government. During the 
Bagaza regime, two religious denominations were banned: the 
Seventh Day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses. The 
Buyoya regime has legally recognized the Adventist Church and 
returned all of its confiscated properties. The Government 
has received a delegation of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and 
their legal recognition is presently under consideration. 



38 



BURUNDI 

There are no barriers to the maintenance of links with 
coreligionists in other countries. Participation in religious 
groups does not exclude people from membership in the UPRONA 
party or from receiving social benefits. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Government instituted restrictions on internal travel in 
August 1988 following ethnic violence in the north. Any 
person traveling between communes needed specific permission 
to do so in the form of a laissez-passer issued by the 
communal administrator, which was issued routinely. An 11 
p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was in effect throughout Burundi. The 
Government lifted these travel restrictions on October 31. 

Some 48,000 Burundi citizens fled to Rwanda following the 
recent ethnic violence in northern Burundi. The Government 
collaborated with the Government of Rwanda, the International 
Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to create a climate of 
confidence in the north to encourage the refugees to return. 
This effort has been sucessful, and most of the refugees have 
voluntarily returned to their home areas. 

The Government continues to discourage migration to urban 
areas through an active public education campaign. Foreign 
travel and emigration are relatively free, though travelers 
must explain the reason for their trip and must surrender 
their passports to the immigration office on their return to 
Burundi. Prospective Burundi travelers must have exit visas 
as well as passports. In the past, many foreigners applying 
for exit visas were required to prove they had no outstanding 
debts . 

In the past, repatriated Burundi refugees were welcomed and 
accorded full rights as citizens. Burundi claims to host some 
262,000 refugees, most of whom are Rwandan Tutsis who have 
resided in Burundi since the 1960's. The Government 
collaborates closely with the UNHCR in refugee matters. The 
Government does not engage in forced repatriation of refugees, 
but it has periodically deported Zairians and Rwandans who 
lacked residence permits or who had been arrested on suspicion 
of criminal activities. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The military rules in Burundi, and citizens do not have the 
right to change their government through democratic 
procedures. Since September 1987, the 30-member Military 
Committee for National Salvation (CMSN) , headed by President 
Pierre Buyoya , has been the supreme body, taking 
responsibility for policymaking and direction of government. 
Most executive decisions are taken by the 10-member Executive 
Committee of the CMSN, also headed by Buyoya. The President 
has indicated that the Military Committee will rule until 
civilian government institutions, presumably including the 
National Assembly, are reconstituted. When he was sworn in. 
President Buyoya promised a new constitution and a return to 
civilian rule within 2 years, but there has been little 
movement toward these goals. 

Political participation can take place only within the 
one-party structure, and voters can express dissatisfaction 



39 



BURUNDI 

only by voting against incumbents for party positions. The 
party is open to all Burundi citizens supporting its 
principles, and both men and women are active members and 
office holders. The UPRONA party, together with its youth, 
women's, and labor-affiliated movements, claims a membership 
of approximately 1.4 million persons, over three-quarters of 
the adult population. The party regularly holds local and 
regional meetings, where party members discuss issues and make 
reconmendations . During the past year, participation in party 
elections has expanded. Formerly, the slate of candidates for 
local and national party offices was selected by central 
government cadres and voted upon by party membership. Any 
party member now wishing to run for office can have his or her 
name on the ballot without advance central party approval. 
Allegations that Hutu were discriminated against in this 
process in northern Burundi are thought to have contributed to 
the unrest prior to the outbreak of violence. Voting is 
secret in localities where members are literate, but in some 
rural areas where members are illiterate, voting is by a show 
of hands. 

Women are represented at all levels in the political life of 
the country, including many in the UPRONA party and two in 
Buyoya ' s Cabinet. Their main vehicle of political expression 
is the Burundi Women's Union, which is affiliated with the 
party. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Buyoya Government initially rejected calls for an 
international inquiry into the August 1988 ethnic violence in 
the north on grounds of national sovereignty. However, in 
October the Government informed the United Nations Secretary 
General that it would be willing to receive a U.N. 
fact-finding mission to examine ethnic tensions and the 
refugee problem. It already has permitted outside observers, 
including the ICRC, journalists, diplomats, historians, 
representatives of the U.N. and the Organization of African 
Unity (OAU) , and officials of private voluntary organizations 
to visit the affected areas extensively. The Government is 
undertaking its own investigation of the events and has 
reiterated that any outside observers are welcome to visit the 
area to take stock of the situation. The Buyoya Government 
restricted ICRC access to some detainees in the wake of the 
ethnic violence, but by the end of the year was again allowing 
the ICRC to visit all prisons and other detention facilities. 
Burundi is a party to several United Nations instruments on 
human rights, but it has not signed the OAU African Charter on 
Human and Peoples' Rights. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The minority Tutsi have for many centuries dominated the 
majority Hutu people. Civil strife has erupted between the 
two groups several times, most recently in April 1972 and 
August 1988. In both instances, a Hutu uprising resulting in 
numerous deaths of Tutsi was followed by military intervention 
that resulted in massive Hutu killings. In both cases, the 
violence was followed by thousands of Hutu refugees fleeing 
Burundi. At the outset of its gaining power in September 
1987, the Government of President Pierre Buyoya adopted an 
official policy of ethnic reconciliation. Buyoya named Hutus 



iO 



BURUNDI 

to all levels of government, including 7 to his 23-member 
Cabinet, and 6 of 15 provincial governors. The changes in 
nomination procedures for UPRONA party elections also resulted 
in many more Hutus holding party offices. In the aftermath of 
the recent violence. President Buyoya , having pledged to 
create greater opportunities for Hutus, in October gave an 
equal number of ministerial portfolios to Hutus in his Cabinet 
and appointed a Hutu as Prime Minister. 

Despite these encouraging beginnings, de facto discrimination 
by Tutsi against Hutu is found in m.any areas of society, 
though it is not condoned by law. There are few Hutus in the 
Army, and the majority of civil service jobs, as well as 
university and secondary school places, go to Tutsis. Tutsi 
also dominate the modern economic sector, though in rural 
areas economic opportunities are roughly equivalent for both 
ethnic groups. 

Women hold a secondary position in Burundi society, although 
their status is changing from traditional patterns. The 
suspended Constitution provides for legal equality. The 
current legal code prohibits polygamy and a dowry requirement, 
allows women some control over family matters, and provides 
for land inheritance by women. Although fewer women than men 
obtain a formal education, once a degree is attained women 
generally can find suitable employment. The Government has 
not discriminated against women in hiring. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Burundi workers do not have the right of association as 
defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The 
UPRONA party controls the national Trade Union Confederation 
(UTB) and has institutionalized this single trade union 
structure by means of legislation. No other unions are 
allowed by law. The present head of the UTB was named by 
President Buyoya, but all other officeholders were elected by 
the UTB membership. The principal role of the UTB, to which 
virtually the entire salaried work force belongs, is to serve 
as an intermediary between workers and employers in labor 
matters. The UTB formulates its programs and policies in 
concert with the Ministry of Labor. Unauthorized advocacy of 
a strike or lockout is a criminal offense. Therefore, 
although they are theoretically permitted, there have been no 
strikes in recent years. The UTB participates in the ILO and 
is a member of the Organization of African Trade Union Unity. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Workers do not have the right to organize outside the UTB. 
Within the UTB, they have the right to bargain individually 
and collectively in labor disputes, and in practice UTB has 
often forced employers to revise their practices. Due to the 
almost universal membership in UTB among salaried employees, 
antiunion discrimination is not a problem in practice. There 
are no export processing zones in Burundi, and labor laws are 
applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

While forced or compulsory labor is not permitted under 
Burundi law, the ILO Committee of Experts has noted that 
provisions of ordinances concerning the conservation and 



41 



BURUNDI 

utilization of soils and the creation and maintenance of 
minimum areas of food crops are in violation of ILO Convention 
No. 29. It has urged the Government to bring the texts into 
conformity with the Convention and into line with what the 
Government asserts is actual practice. The Committee also 
noted that the various legislative provisions, which call for 
imprisonment (involving obligation to work) for expressions of 
political views contrary to those of the party, are not in 
compliance with ILO Convention 105. The Government in this 
instance has indicated that it intends to examine the 
possibility of revising the prison legislation. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Children under the age of 12 may not be legally employed in 
any capacity, nor may children under the age of 16 be engaged 
in dangerous or strenuous work. As a practical matter in this 
poor, largely rural country, many children are obliged by 
custom and circumstance to help their families in subsistence 
agriculture . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Over 90 percent of the population of Burundi is engaged in 
subsistence agriculture. Worker rights are guaranteed by the 
Burundi labor code and by the UTB, but these rights have 
relevance primarily for workers in the small, wage sector of 
the economy. The established minimum wage is $1.03 per day in 
Bujumbura, and $0.90 per day in rural areas; this wage level 
is inadequate to provide a decent living for urban families, 
who frequently supplement their income through family 
gardening or small businesses. Wages are higher in the few 
private sector businesses and for skilled jobs. Working hours 
vary between 40 and 45 hours per week. Saturday afternoons, 
Sundays, and holidays are times of rest. In the modern 
economic sector, minimum health and safety standards are 
monitored by the Ministry of Labor. The enforcement of these 
standards is limited, due to lack of resources. 



42 



CAMEROON 



Political power in Cameroon is heavily concentrated in the 
Presidency. The President appoints all government and party 
officials and makes all major decisions, although key 
parliamentarians in the National Assembly and others have 
behind-the-scenes influence. Cameroon had an active 
multiparty system when it became independent. Under former 
President Ahidjo, all parties were gradually consolidated into 
the Cameroon National Union, which was renamed in 1985 under 
President Paul Biya the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement 
(CPDM) . Cameroon's political system is a product of the 
country's ethnic and linguistic diversity, which includes 230 
languages and 3 separate European traditions (French, British, 
and German). Both French and English are official languages, 
although English-speakers (Anglophones) allege political 
discrimination by the majority French-speakers 

(Francophones). A careful balancing act, within the party, is 
required to maintain political cohesion. 

Internal security responsibilities are shared by the National 
Police (Surete National), the National Intelligence Service 
(Centre National pour les Etudes et Recherche, CENER), the 
Ministry of Territorial Administration, Military Intelligence, 
and, to a lesser extent, the Presidential Security Service. 
The Ministry of Territorial Administration is in charge of 
prisons, and the National Police has the dominant role in 
enforcing internal security laws. 

Cameroon's economy remains relatively strong, with a per 
capita gross domestic product of about $1,200 (1987) that 
places Cameroon among the middle-income developing countries. 
Nonetheless, it remains plagued by many problems of 
underdevelopment, and its economy declined in 1988 as revenues 
from oil, coffee, cocoa, and other raw material exports 
declined from previous years. Cameroon's diversified 
agricultural base and the Government's conservative economic 
policies help mitigate the effects of declining terms of trade 
and other external difficulties. 

President Biya, who has held office since 1982, has advocated 
greater "democratization" within Cameroon, and modest steps 
were taken in 1987 local and 1988 national elections to expand 
political participation. Nevertheless, one-party control 
remains firmly in place, and there was only a single candidate 
in the 1988 presidential elections. Moreover, the 
Government's human rights record continues to be marked by 
harassment and arbitrary detention of journalists who write 
articles critical of the Government and of those who speak out 
publicly against the Government. By most estimates, 10 to 20 
political detainees remain in custody from the arrests that 
followed the attempted coup in 1984. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killing. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearance. 



43 



CAMEROON 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, gr Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Torture is proscribed by the criminal code, which renders 
evidence obtained by torture inadmissible in court. In 
addition, the penal code prohibits public servants from using 
force against any person. Nevertheless, there were credible 
reports of severe beatings of suspects while in custody in 
1988. Poor prison conditions, including inadequate food, 
sanitation, and medical care, remain problems. Prisoners 
reportedly have suffered from severe malnutrition unless 
provided food by friends or families. An American citizen who 
was detained for 26 hours in 1988 was not fed at all nor 
provided any toilet facilities during his detention. Persons 
under "administrative detention" (i.e., political detainees) 
are kept in special camps or prisons to which access by 
families and friends is severely restricted. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Under Cameroonian law, a person arrested on suspicion of 
committing a nonpolitical offense may not be held more than 48 
hours without a court order. However, after an investigating 
magistrate has determined that the case should be brought to 
trial and has issued a warrant to that effect, there is no 
limitation on how long the detainee may be held in "preventive 
detention" pending trial. Accused persons awaiting trial 
constitute the majority of persons in the prisons at Yaounde 
and Douala. Release on bail is permitted by law only in the 
Anglophone provinces, whose legal system retains features from 
the era of British rule. Even there bail is granted only 
infrequently. There have been cases of local or provincial 
authorities ordering the continued detention of individuals 
because of personal disputes even after a court ordered their 
release. The National Intelligence Service, CENER, does not 
respect fully the penal code requirement that detainees be 
brought before a magistrate for investigation of possible 
offenses and holds detainees incommunicado. In 1988 
Cameroonian immigration officials detained an American citizen 
for 26 hours without explanation and repeatedly denied him 
permission to notify the U.S. Embassy of his detention. 

Persons may also be held in administrative detention under 
legislation pertaining to subversion. The penal code defines 
detention as the "loss of liberty for a political felony or 
misdemeanor." Such detention by regional authorities is 
initially for 1 month, renewable twice, and may be extended up 
to an additional 6 months by the Minister of Territorial 
Administration. Those arrested and placed in administrative 
detention do not disappear--their families are told where they 
are, although not always promptly--and they are released 
eventually, although the detention may be lengthy. Under 
state of emergency provisions, invoked following the 1984 coup 
attempt and still in force in three western provinces, 
authorities may order detention for up to 1 week for persons 
judged "dangerous to public security." The Minister of 
Territorial Administration may also order detention of such 
persons for up to 2 months. The order is renewable without 
limitation. The state of emergency provisions reportedly were 
used in 1988 on one occasion in the West Province. 

By year's end, Albert Mukong, writer and well-known critic of 
the Government, had been held without charge since mid-June 
for publicly criticizing the lack of choice in Cameroon's 
elections. The legal justification for his continued 



44 



CAMEROON 

detention was unclear. An estimated 10 to 20 political 
detainees, most of whom were apprehended around the time of 
the 1984 coup attempt, remained in administrative detention at 
the end of 1988. 

Local police occasionally harass citizens and threaten to 
detain them unless bribes are paid. While these actions are 
not condoned by high government officials and have been 
criticized sharply by the President, the problem appeared to 
increase during the year. In mid-1988, the Secretary of State 
for Internal Security publicly reminded police of their duty 
to enforce the law fairly and of the unacceptabi lity of 
corruption. Small numbers of low-ranking police officials are 
regularly dismissed for corruption. 

While certain political figures remain outside the country, 
Cameroon does not engage in the practice of forced exile. 
Early in his first term. President Biya publicly encouraged 
all those living abroad for political reasons to return to 
Cameroon without fear of reprisal. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Trial 

Trial by a presiding magistrate is guaranteed by law, and this 
practice is followed with the exception of persons held under 
administrative detention or state of emergency regulations. 
Public trials are also guaranteed by law, although exceptions 
are allowed for the public good or for national security 
reasons. Trials which involve prominent persons or which are 
controversial have sometimes been held in private. 

Magistrates in Cameroon are career civil servants responsible 
to the Minister of Justice and are required to have law 
degrees. Their decisions are usually not subject to 
government interference, and they generally are considered to 
conduct fair trials. There was an instance in 1987, in which 
a magistrate was apparently the object of a retaliatory 
transfer after rendering a civil judgment against the 
Government. The Minister of Justice has publicly cautioned 
magistrates from awarding "excessive" damages against the 
State, and there have been reported cases of refusal of the 
Government to pay damages even where a court has found against 
it. Defendants in felony cases are provided attorneys if they 
cannot afford to engage their own. 

Crimes involving subversion or illegal use of weapons, as well 
as crimes involving the military, are tried by military 
tribunal. Each tribunal has three members, and its presiding 
officer must be a magistrate. In some cases, the magistrate 
is a civilian, but often he is a military officer. As in 
felony cases tried in the regular court system, defendants are 
entitled to either public or private counsel. 

Amnesty International's (AI) 1988 report states that a number 
of persons convicted in connection with the 1984 coup attempt 
were tried by military courts which did not conform to 
internationally recognized standards of fairness. The trials 
were secret, lawyers were given little time to prepare a 
defense, and defendants had no right of appeal. In 1988 there 
was concern that some who had been acquitted during those 
trials, and others who had completed their sentences, had not 
been released from prison. The Government did not respond to 
repeated inquiries about these concerns. 



45 



CAMEROON 



f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Both invasions of the home and tampering with correspondence 
are violations of Cameroonian law. There are reports that 
police enter homes without warrants during periodic searches 
for criminals in low-income neighborhoods. Police officials 
also sometimes enter homes and demand to see receipts'^for 
household property as a customs law enforcement measure. .• 
Surveillance of suspected political dissidents and the 
monitoring of mail and of telephone conversations are common. 

Membership in the nation's sole legal political party, the 
CPDM, is encouraged and is open to all, but membership is 
voluntary. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 




The Constitution of 1972 pr 
expression and press, but u 
these freedoms are restrict 
anyone is punished for priv 
Public criticism, on the ot 
in the case of Albert Mukon 
mid-1988 for having been cr 
during a British Broadcasti 
London. A singer, Koko Ate 
after singing a song deemed 
couple at the inaugural bal 
harsh action against severa 
March. Two journalists wer 
an article critical of the 
Giscard d'Estaing. Three o 
detained for several weeks 
concerning a police crimina 



ovides for the freedom of 
nder Cameroonian law and practice 
ed . There is no evidence that 
ately criticizing the Government, 
her hand, invites imprisonment, as 
g, who was jailed without trial iftr 
itical of Cameroon's elections 
ng Corporation radio interview i-n 
ba, was jailed until late 1988 
insulting to the presidential 
1 in May. The Government took 
1 independent journalists in 
e jailed for 4 months for writing 
visiting former French President 
ther newspaper journalists were 
in connection with articles 
1 investigation. 



(5" :.:^- r. 



The Government publishes two official newspapers, French and 
English editions of the Cameroon Tribune, and controls 
television and radio. The Government censors stories that it 
finds objectionable. The English edition of the Cameroon 
Tribune was seized on March 25, 1988, because it reported the 
resignation of the Speaker of the Cameroonian National 
Assembly. It appeared 9 hours later, with a half-page 
advertisement on the front page in place of the article. 
Official journalists, bound by rules governing the behavior of 
civil servants, enjoy much less latitude with respect to 
editorial comment than do their private counterparts. Most 
official journalists are civil servants who may be transferred 
to less desirable jobs if they do not censor their own 
reporting. 



The 1988 dismissal of the Director General of the Cameroonian 
Radio and Television Corporation was caused in part by the 
broadcasting of a story on poor housing conditions for 
university students. This has led to concern that television 
journalists no longer have the leeway they had' in the past to 
monitor sensitive social issues and governmental corruption. 

The number of private publications diminished somewhat during 
1988, but close to 15 newspapers publish on a regular 
schedule. No written ground rules exist, and the private 
press must submit each issue to censors. Issues of 
foreign-printed periodicals and books have been seized because 



46 



CAMEROON 

they contained articles about Cameroon which the Government 
considered inflammatory or defamatory. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The freedoms of assembly and association, while provided for 
in the Constitution, are restricted in practice and in law. 
The Cameroonian penal code prohibits public meetings, 
demonstrations, or processions without prior government 
approval, and organizations must register with the 
Government. While there have been no reports that such 
permits have been denied, large public meetings in which the 
Government does not play a role are virtually unknown. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Cameroon is a secular state; there is no established 
religion. Roughly 20 percent of Cameroonians are Muslim, 30 
percent Christian, and the rest animist. Officials of the 
Government and party are drawn from members of all 
denominations. Freedom of religion is provided for in the 
Constitution, but is limited with respect to a few smaller 
sects. In order for a religious group to exist and function 
legally, it must be approved and registered with the Ministry 
of Territorial Administration. The Ministry on at least one 
occasion rejected an application from a small religious group 
on the ground that it was too nearly identical to an existing 
group . 

The Jehovah's Witnesses were banned in 1970 and periodically 
have been targets of harassment since then. In the most 
recent known incident, a Jehovah's Witness, Augustine Kong, 
was sentenced to 2 years in prison in 1987 in an illegal 
border crossing case. According to AI ' s 1988 report, the 
organization has been pressing the Government to release Kong. 

Observance of traditional religions is not discouraged by the 
Government, although acts of witchcraft, magic, or divination 
"liable to disrupt public order or tranquility, or to harm 
persons or property" are outlawed, with potential penalties of 
up to 10 years' imprisonment. 

Missionaries played a major role in the development of 
Cameroon and continue to be active. Foreign clergy suffer no 
ill-treatment. There are no particular restrictions on places 
of worship, training of clergy, conversion, religious 
education, or religious participation in charitable 
activities. Independent Muslim and Christian publications 
exist in Cameroon, and there is no evidence that they are 
censored more heavily than the secular press. The exception, 
again, is the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are not allowed to 
publish or distribute their religious materials. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Freedom of movement within the country is not restricted by 
law. In practice, police frequently stop travelers to check 
identification documents as a security and immigration control 
measure. Exit visas are required to leave the country and 
sometimes are obtainable only after long bureaucratic delays. 
These delays may represent attempts by the Government to 



47 



CAMEROON 

discourage or even prevent departure; or attempts by officials 
to solicit bribes. The Government has also been known to 
refuse issuance of a passport, or to confiscate an already- 
issued passport, in order to prevent someone from traveling 
abroad. Cameroonians who leave the country must deposit sums 
sufficient to buy a return air ticket for repatriation should 
they become stranded abroad. There are no restrictions on 
voluntary repatriation, nor is there any forced resettlement. 
Married women and children are required to obtain the 
permission of their husbands/fathers to obtain an exit visa. 

Over the years, Cameroon has served as a safehaven for 
thousands of displaced persons and refugees. The Government 
currently acknowledges the presence in Cameroon of 
approximately 50,000 Chadians, some 5,000 of whom have been 
recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) as political refugees and permitted to live 
at the UNHCR camp at Poll. Many of the remaining Chadians 
have integrated into the Cameroonian economy and do not 
receive government or international assistance. Cameroon 
returns illegal Chadian immigrants to Chad from time to time, 
but there have been no confirmed reports of forced 
repatriations of recognized Chadian refugees. Cameroon is 
also host to refugees from South Africa, Zaire, Angola, and 
other African nations, and there are roughly 100 Namibians in 
Cameroon as students. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

As Cameroon continues to be a one-party state with political 
power and administrative responsibility concentrated in the 
Presidency, citizens do not have the right to change the party 
in power through the electoral process. The President 
appoints all governors, prefects, and cabinet ministers. 
Former President Ahidjo resigned in 1982 and was followed in 
office by his constitutional successor, the then Prime 
Minister, Paul Biya . President Biya received his own mandate 
in a single-candidate election in 1984, and subsequently 
withstood a coup attempt by forces linked to Ahidjo. In March 
1988, the National Assembly unexpectedly approved without 
debate several government-proposed laws and constitutional 
amendments authorizing the President to shorten his term and 
call for a presidential election. One month later. President 
Biya again ran unopposed for a new 5-year term and received 98 
percent of the vote. 

While the Constitution implies the legality of other political 
parties, in fact, only the CPDM party is permitted. 
Membership in the CPDM is open to all religious and ethnic 
groups. No one attempted to gain legal recognition for a 
second political party in 1988, although critics of the 
Government decried the lack of any meaningful choice. The 
election law also theoretically permits multiple candidates 
for the Presidency, but alternate candidates from within the 
CPDM were discouraged in 1988 from seeking signatures on 
nominating petitions. 

All members of the 180-seat National Assembly must be members 
of the CPDM. Candidates were screened by the party, but. 
National Assembly elections with multiple candidacies were 
held for the first time in 1988. The impact of this step 
toward opening up the political process was reduced when the 
CPDM, apparently fearing an exacerbation of political and 
ethnic rivalries, limited the number of candidates in these 



48 



CAMEROON 

elections to no more than two candidates per Assembly seat. 
In many districts, there was only one candidate per seat. The 
electoral outcome did produce a new National Assembly with 
about 120 first-time legislators. The next legislative 
elections are due in April 1993. Balloting is secret. In the 
1988 elections, there were few irregularities at the polls and 
no accusations of election fraud. 

The significance of the nationwide 1987 multicandidate 
municipal elections--also a first in Cameroon history--was 
reduced when the CPDM issued a list of those persons it 
expected to see elected as mayors from among the newly elected 
municipal councillors. 

A number of women are quite active in political life both 
within and outside the women's wing of the CPDM. Many women 
ran for offices in various elections, and two currently serve 
as ministers. About 14 per cent of the newly elected National 
Assembly consists of women. There are no female governors or 
prefects . 

Dissident groups, including the Union des Populations du 
Cameroun (UPC, which has been banned since the early 1960 "s) 
and the Cameroon Democratic Party, periodically send letters 
or pamphlets into the country (usually seized by customs 
officials), or are heard on foreign radio broadcasts. These 
groups seem to have few adherents in Cameroon. A number of 
former UPC members are now active in the CPDM. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government does not respond publicly or privately to 
inquiries from any human rights organizations, including from 
AI . The Constitution affirms support for the freedoms 
guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 
the United Nations Charter. Under President Biya, the 
Government has given increased attention to human rights 
issues, e.g., in public statements in forums such as the 
United Nations. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Access to the Government's social programs is open to all 
Cameroonian citizens on a nondiscriminatory basis. President 
Biya often has taken a strong public stand against the dangers 
of tribalism, but there remains deep-seated suspicion among 
ethnic groups. The split between Francophones and Anglophones 
has served, in some measure, to emphasize ethnic differences. 
Anglophones are a distinct minority, representing only about 
20 percent of the population, and charge discrimination by the 
Francophone majority. For example. Francophones need not have 
passed English for admission to the university, but 
Anglophones must have passed French. 

Girls made up 45.5 percent of elementary students in 1984-85, 
the last year for which statistics are available. Women are 
underprivileged in access to both higher education and 
professional opportunities. Girls from the southern part of 
the country, although disadvantaged at the secondary education 
level when compared with boys from the same areas, have a 
considerable educational lead over girls and boys from the 
Eastern and Northern Provinces. One of the goals of the sixth 



49 



CAMEROON 

5-year plan for economic, social, and cultural development is 
to improve educational opportunities for women. 

Women enjoy equal rights under the Constitution and are 
politically active in the party and the sole labor union. The 
women's wing of the party has developed programs aimed at 
encouraging the economic and social productivity of 
Cameroonian women. Women are represented in the modern wage 
sector, although not proportionately in the upper levels of 
administration and in the professions. Women serve in the 
armed forces. Polygyny is permitted by law and custom, but 
polyandry is not. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The labor code recognizes the right of workers to establish 
trade unions without prior authorization and to join trade 
unions of their choosing. In practice, there is but one 
umbrella labor organization in the country, the Organization 
of United Cameroonian Workers (OCWU) , which operates parallel 
to the official political party. The top union leadership is 
chosen by the Government. Other unions in the country are 
subordinate to the OCWU. The OCWU permitted multiple 
candidates to run in worker delegate elections in late 1987 
and early 1988. The OCWU retains the right to approve 
candidacies, thus assuring political orthodoxy. The OCWU does 
not play a major role in Cameroonian politics, although it has 
a membership of approximately 450,000 workers in a working 
population of more than 3 million. It pursues individual 
worker grievances and seeks improvements in government 
programs for worker safety and training. 

The OCWU participates in government-regulated labor 
negotiations, but strikes are illegal. Political activity by 
trade unions, excepting action designed to protect economic 
and other interests, is prohibited. The OCWU maintains 
contact with foreign trade union organizations, including the 
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial 
Organizations, but such contact requires government 
authorization. Cameroon is a member of the International 
Labor Organization (ILO), and union members comprise the labor 
component of the Cameroonian delegation to ILO meetings. The 
OCWU is also a member of the Organization of African Trade 
Union Unity. It maintains contact with the Central African 
Trade Union Organization, but is not among the most active 
within the group. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The labor code recognizes the right of trade unions or trade 
union federations to engage in collective bargaining with 
employers or groups of employers. In practice, collective 
bargaining is rare, due to the small size of the modern 
industrial sector and the small number of large employers. 
Under the law, all employers of more than 10 workers must 
permit the election of a worker representative from among the 
employees. This individual has a statutory right to discuss 
labor conditions with the employer on behalf of the employees 
and enjoys special protection from arbitrary dismissal. 
Candidates for these positions must be approved by the OCWU. 
Although this system has potential for success, worker 
representatives have used the position more for their own 



50 



CAMEROON 

benefit than that of fellow workers. Labor laws are applied 
uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

While forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law, the ILO 
Committee of Experts has noted that provisions of the labor 
code, the law establishing the National Civic Service for 
Participation in Development, legislation respecting prisons, 
and the Merchant Shipping Code are in violation of the ILO 
Conventions on forced labor. The Government has stated 
repeatedly that amendments to bring these laws into compliance 
are being processed or are under study. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The Cameroonian national labor code sets the minimum working 
age at 14, a rule which appears to be respected in the modern 
sector. Labor inspectors from the Ministry of Labor and 
Social Insurance are empowered to enforce provisions of 
Cameroon's labor code, as are labor courts. In rural areas 
where subsistence farming occupies 80 per cent of Cameroon's 
citizens, children participate in agricultural work alongside 
adults . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Under the labor code, the minimum annual paid vacation is 18 
days, and the legal workweek is 40 hours for nonagricultural 
employees and up to 48 hours per week for agricultural 
workers. In order to make room for younger workers, civil 
servants are encouraged to retire upon reaching the minimum 
retirement age of 55. Minimum monthly wages are set by the 
Government for all public and private sector jobs. Wage 
rates--which range from $62 per month to $103 per month--are 
based on geographic zones, types of industry, and worker 
gualif icat ions and seniority. The lowest wages are 
insufficient to support a family; but, in most cases, they are 
supplemented by a second job or another family member's 
earnings. Workers with middle-range wages also are likely to 
need second incomes to support a family, especially in Yaounde 
and Douala. Occupational health and safety is mandated by 
law, based on ILO standards. In theory, these standards are 
enforced by Ministry of Labor inspectors and labor courts, but 
they lack the means for effective enforcement. 



51 



CAPE VERDE 



Cape Verde is ruled by the African Party for the Independence 
of Cape Verde (PAICV), the country's sole political party, 
under the leadership of President Aristides Pereira. Most 
government ministers are also senior members of the party, and 
many of them were leaders of the revolutionary movement to 
free Cape Verde from Portuguese rule. The PAICV is officially 
open to anyone wishing to join, but only about 4 percent of 
the voting population are members. The Constitution adopted 
in 1980 declares the party "the supreme expression of the 
interests of the popular masses." Members of the Popular 
National Assembly, which is formally the supreme organ of the 
State, are elected from a slate of candidates which is 
proposed to the electorate by the party. The Assembly selects 
the President, who, as Head of State, proposes the Prime 
Minister to the Assembly. The Assembly ratifies most party 
and government decisions, but it also serves as a forum for 
increasingly open debate. 

Security responsibilities, formerly divided between the 
military, the security, and police forces, were combined into 
a single government department in 1986. The reorganized 
Ministry of Defense and Security operates under guidelines and 
leadership approved by the party. 

Cape Verde has few natural resources, and for years Cape 
Verdeans have emigrated to improve their economic condition 
(over 500,000 live abroad). Cape Verde's development efforts 
for its population of 360,000 have been hindered by a 20-year 
drought which has severely affected employment for the rural 
population and seriously diminished water supplies. The 
Government has relied on foreign assistance and remittances 
from Cape Verdean emigrants to help feed its population. 
Heavy summer rains in 1987 and 1988 may have signaled the end 
of the drought and hold the promise of improvements in the 
agricultural sector. The Government is the largest 
nonagricultural employer. It controls banking, the 
importation of most basic commodities, airlines, the press, 
and schools. Private property rights are respected. There is 
a small but growing private sector which includes shops, 
hotels, farms, fishing, small industries (such as tuna 
canning), and the professions. 

Political rights are limited in the Constitution, and, in 
practice, the Government uses its authority, e.g., detention 
powers, to restrict the expression of opposing views. Outside 
the political sphere, human rights are generally respected in 
Cape Verde. Three policemen responsible for the 1987 death in 
custody of an arson suspect were convicted of murder and were 
given sentences of 8 to 15 years in prison. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reported instances of politically motivated 
deaths . 



52 

CAPE VERDE 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reported instances of officially inspired 
disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

In November 1987 a young man was beaten to death while in 
detention in a local jail on Brava Island. The government 
press made a full report of the incident. The responsible 
policeman and his superior officers were arrested and found 
guilty of murder by a special court during 1988. The police 
sergeant who had killed the victim while trying to coerce a 
confession was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Two other 
policemen responsible for leaving the sergeant alone in charge 
of the station received 8-year sentences. There was no new 
evidence of torture or other cruel and unusual punishment of 
prisoners and detainees. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Cape Verdean law reguires that an accused person, unless 
caught in the act of committing a crime, be brought before a 
judge and charged within 48 hours of arrest. Additionally, a 
person may not be arrested without court order unless caught 
in the act of committing a felony. In exceptional cases, with 
the concurrence of a court official, the formal charge process 
may be delayed up to 5 days after arrest. For crimes against 
state security, however, persons may be detained for up to 5 
months without trial upon a judge's ruling. There is a 
functioning system of bail, and everyone is entitled to 
representation by an attorney in civil or criminal cases. 
Those unable to afford legal counsel are represented by 
lawyers named by the state-run Lawyers' Association. 

There were no known instances of forced exile for political or 
other reasons. With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see 
Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The judicial system is composed of a Supreme Court, whose 
members are appointed by the President, regional courts, and 
local popular courts. Trials are conducted by one judge 
without a jury. The Autonomous Institute for Judiciary 
Support [AIJS] , to which all private lawyers belong, provides 
counsel for needy defendants. Trials appear to be handled 
expeditiously, and most evidence suggests that the courts 
protect individual rights in criminal cases. Verdicts can be 
appealed . 

Popular tribunals adjudicate minor disputes on a local level 
in rural areas. The "judges," appointees of the Ministry of 
Justice, are usually prominent local citizens without legal 
training. Their decisions can be appealed within the regular 
court system. 

There were no known political prisoners at the end of 1988. 
Persons are occasionally convicted of misdemeanors such as 
disturbing the peace or demonstrating without permission when 
they express views different from the Government. 



53 



CAPE VERDE 

f . Arbitrary Interference with- Privacy, Farnily, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Constitution recognizes citizens' rights to the 
inviolability of domicile, correspondence, and other means of 
communication. The law requires judicial warrants before 
searches of homes may be conducted. Gne outspoken critic of 
the party claimed in 1988 that he was subjected to canstant 
police surveillance and harassed by threatening phone calls 
and letters. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Constitution proclaims freedom of speech and intellectual 
creativity, including the rights of authorship, but it also 
stipulates that none of these rights and freedoms may be 
exercised "contrary to national unity." While freedom of the 
press is not a specific constitutional guarantee, a law 
adopted in December 1985 assures citizens the right to express 
opinions in the press. At the same time, however, the party 
emphasized that this right should be exercised responsibly. 

The primary weekly newspaper, radio, and television media are 
government owned and follow government policies. Occasional 
stories critical of some aspects of policy are printed or 
broadcast, probably with prior authorization from the 
Government. Local radio broadcasts carry items from Western 
agencies as well as from Communist countries, generally 
balancing coverage and identifying sources on controversial 
international issues. 

The Government tolerates antigovernment flyers which circulate 
from time to time. It also tolerates the Catholic Church's 
monthly newspaper Terra Nova, which sometimes criticizes 
aspects of life in Cape Verde, as long as its articles are not 
viewed as a threat to the Government. Terra Nova is 
considered by many people to be more reliable than the 
government-run Voz Di Povo and enjoys a wide following. On 
occasion, the editor and contributors have been summoned 
before party tribunals to explain their articles. In November 
1988, the court convicted the paper's editor. Father Antonio 
Fidalgo Barros, of abusing the power of the press for 
publishing a letter alleging financial improprieties by Cape 
Verdean diplomats abroad. Fidalgo was given a suspended 
sentence of 3 months in prison, fined the equivalent of $200, 
and put on 2 years' probation. Cape Verdean courts have 
delayed trial proceedings in the case of Jose Teofilo Santos 
Silva., who was charged with "defamation of the image of the 
state security agency" for his article in Terra Nova which 
alleged Government torture of political dissidents. Santos 
claims to have based his article on Amnesty International 
reports of 1983 and 1984. 

In November 1987, Joao Alfredo Fortes Dias was sentenced to 9 
months' imprisonment and fined for painting political slogans 
on walls in Mindelo. He was released on bail and appealed his 
case to the Supreme Court. His sentence was subsequently 
upheld by the Supreme Court, and he was required to serve his 
prison term. 

Foreign periodicals generally circulate freely in Cape Verde 
even when they contain articles critical of or unflattering to 
the Government, as is sometimes the case with Portuguese 



54 



CAPE VERDE 

newspapers. International radio broadcasts are received 
clearly without interference. Almost all movies shown are 
apolitical in content, and some are occasionally censored on 
moral grounds. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The freedom to meet, to associate freely, and to demonstrate 
is provided for in the Constitution. As a practical matter, 
however, no organizations opposed to the Government or its 
policies are permitted. Private associations other than 
sports clubs or religious youth groups do not exist. The 
establishment of such associations is subject to government 
authorization, and a law is currently under consideration to 
authorize and regulate professional groups and independent 
organizations. Party-sponsored "popular organizations" of 
women and youth are prominent. 

The Constitution provides that every citizen has the right and 
the duty to participate in the political, economic, and 
cultural life of the country. This provision theoretically 
could be used to force a person's participation in activities 
against his or her will. In practice, there is no evidence to 
suggest that this provision has been so used. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The Constitution requires separation of church and state. 
Freedom of worship is respected by the Government, and members 
of all faiths practice their religion without harassment. At 
least two-thirds of the population, including m.ost of the 
Government leadership, are nominally Catholic, but the 
dominance of Catholicism does not adversely affect other 
faiths. Evangelical Protestant and Seventh-Day Adventist are 
two major religious communities. The Baha'i and Jehovah's 
Witnesses have smaller congregations. 

At least two faiths, the Baha'i and "Christian Rationalism," 
that were formally banned or suppressed under the Portuguese, 
have been permitted to reestablish themselves and operate 
freely since independence. There are no restrictions on 
religious practices, teaching, or contacts with coreligionists 
outside Cape Verde. The Catholic Church, for example, openly 
opposes birth control methods which are advocated and 
supported by the Government. A few foreign missionaries are 
active in Cape Verde, and more than half the Catholic clergy 
are non-Cape Verdean. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

There are no extraordinary legal or administrative 
restrictions on travel or residence within the country. All 
resident Cape Verdeans wishing to leave the country, either 
temporarily or permanently, must obtain exit permission from 
the Government. Such permission has not been denied for 
political reasons. Emigration has long been an important and 
recognized escape valve from prevailing harsh economic 
conditions. The Government maintains close contact with 
emigrant communities and provides every opportunity for Cape 
Verdeans living abroad to maintain their ties with the 
homeland, including allowing them to vote in elections. A 
formal government organization exists to safeguard emigrant 
rights in foreign countries and assist immigrants with legal 
matters in Cape Verde. Repatriation is a constitutional 



55 



CAPE VERDE 

right, and the Government does not discourage intending 
repatriates. Indeed, two new bills designed to further 
facilitate repatriation are currently under debate in the 
National Assembly. 

Citizenship may be revoked on several grounds, including for 
activities contrary to the interest of the country. However, 
there are no known cases of the Government instituting 
proceedings to deprive persons of citizenship for political 
reasons . 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The party's monopoly of power in Cape Verde is enshrined in 
the Constitution. Opposition parties are illegal and do not 
exist. Therefore, citizens are unable to change the one-party 
political system through a multiparty political process. The 
small group of men who actually led the struggle for 
independence occupy positions of leadership in both the party 
and the Government. The Secretary General of the party is 
President of the Republic, the Deputy Secretary General is 
Prime Minister, and the third-ranking party official is 
President of the National Assembly. Five other members of the 
party's political commission are also Ministers. Not all 
ministers or secretaries of state are party members, but all 
clearly serve at the pleasure of the party. Current party 
membership is about 6,000 — 4 percent of the total adult 
population — which represents a doubling in size since 
independence in 1975. Within this essentially elitist party, 
there exists a modest opportunity for meaningful political 
activity. For example, the delegates to the Second Party 
Congress in 1983, and the leadership itself, were elected by 
secret ballot with some unexpected changes in the order of 
precedence for various ministers. The party leadership also 
made an effort to give women more prominent roles. However, 
women, who comprise 14 percent of the total party membership, 
remain underrepresented. The party membership is young (47 
percent under 30 years of age), disproportionately urban (50 
percent in a nation which is two-thirds rural), and heavily 
representative of the bureaucracy (25 percent of party members 
are civil servants or employees of state enterprises). 

National Assembly elections were last held in December 1985. 
A single slate of candidates, all of whom were either party 
members or nominees with party approval, was presented to 
voters. The final list of candidates was selected after three 
stages of local consultations, during which as many as four 
candidates--not necessarily party members — were considered for 
each seat. As a result of this winnowing process, several 
prominent nonparty candidates won party approval and election 
to the Assembly. Twice-yearly Assembly sessions serve to 
ratify earlier party and government decisions, but issues are 
debated openly with critical interventions reported in the 
media, and voting in such cases is usually not unanimous. 
Motions introduced by the Government are not always adopted. 
Deputies criticize government policies and decisions, but 
policy decisions already made by the Council of Ministers are 
not reversed by the Assembly. 



90-641 - 



56 



CAPE VERDE 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government in the past has permitted visits by private 
organizations to investigate conditions of persons convicted 
for political or related offenses. In 1987 and 1988, the 
Government did not officially respond to inquiries from 
Amnesty International about Joao Alfredo Fortes Dias and two 
others convicted for painting political slogans on walls. 
There are no known instances in which the Government has been 
the subject of investigations by official international 
organizations. There are no known official or nongovernmental 
human rights organizations in the country, although the 
Lawyers' Association for the Provision of Judicial Support 
performs some of the functions of such an organization. The 
Catholic Church's monthly magazine published a series of 
articles on human rights abuses in 1987. The abuses 
specifically cited include the Dias and Santos cases, plus 
allegations of police brutality dating back more than 5 years. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Racial discrimination is not a significant problem in Cape 
Verde, where the vast majority of the population shares 
various proportions of Portuguese and African ancestry. Sex 
discrimination exists, although it is prohibited by the 
Constitution. Many traditional male-oriented values of the 
Portuguese and African ancestors of today's Cape Verdeans are 
still part of the country's culture. The code of the family, 
enacted in October 1981, prescribes the full equality of men 
and women, including equal pay for equal work, but in 
practice, women have been customarily excluded from certain 
types of employment and are often paid less than men. 
Additionally, police and courts are often reluctant to assist 
in cases involving rape or wife beating, which are not 
uncommon in Cape Verde. Both the Government and the party are 
making efforts to bring women into economic and social 
activities where they have been traditionally absent. The 
Government has included women in the labor-intensive economic 
development projects financed by foreign grants. The 
Organization of Cape Verdean Women was founded in 1980, with 
party encouragement, to sensitize the Government and Cape 
Verdeans in general to issues affecting women. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers can associate in unions, but all unions must affiliate 
with the Workers' Union of Cape Verde (UNTC/CS) . It is 
affiliated with the PAICV and headed by a high-ranking party 
member. About one-third of the active work force are nominal 
union members. Individual unions perform some traditional 
trade union functions and also act as party affiliates. There 
is no reference to the right to strike in the Constitution or 
in any legislation. In the absence of any legal prohibition 
against strikes, the UNTC/CS believes that the right to strike 
exists, but it has never been exercised. Workers sometimes 
take positions on specific issues in opposition to government 
policies in state enterprises. For example, there was a 3-day 
work stoppage by nonunion casual labor in September 1988 over 
the piecework rate for cement cargo being unloaded by the 
State Import Agency. The UNTC/CS participates in the 



57 



CAPE VERDE 

International Labor Organization and is affiliated with the 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity, but has not taken 
positions independent of those officially sanctioned by the 
Government. It maintains contact with and receives assistance 
from both Communist and non-Communist national unions abroad. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions are by law the designated means by which workers are 
represented. The right for unions to function without 
hindrance is mandated. However, there is no true collective 
bargaining. As the largest employers, the Government and 
party are largely responsible for setting wages and other 
benefits, although the UNTC/CS and the unions have influence 
in the process. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
Forced labor is not practiced. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment is 14, and children under 16 
are prohibited from working at night, more than 7 hours per 
day, or in establishments where toxic products are used. All 
enterprises submit a yearly report to the Director General of 
Labor with information on salary and ages of each employee. 
This provides the Government with a vehicle for controlling 
employment practices. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and 
Social Affairs is charged with monitoring and inspecting work 
conditions in major industries. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum wages are established by the Government for both civil 
servants and private enterprises. As of January 1, 1987, the 
minimum wage for civil servants was approximately $84 per 
month. Wages for unskilled workers are considerably lower, 
and in rural areas the daily minimum for the least skilled 
types of labor is about $1.62 per day. The minimum wage is 
barely adequate for a decent standard of living, and workers 
must often supplement their income through second jobs, extra 
farming, or family assistance from overseas immigrants. 
According to an unofficial survey, the current average monthly 
wage for white collar workers is $170 per month while an 
unskilled rural worker earns $50 per month. An urban family 
with combined income over $300 per month can afford to rent an 
apartment with water and electricity and be wellfed and 
wellclothed. In contrast, most rural homes have neither water 
nor electricity but there are no reports of any widespread 
malnutrition. The workweek for adults is 44 hours over 5 1/2 
days. A worker is entitled to at least 1 free day per week. 
These regulations seem to be respected in practice. 



58 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 



The Central African Republic (C.A.R.) is a one-party state in 
which General Andre Dieudonne Kolingba has held virtually all 
political power since his accession to power in a bloodless 
coup on September 1, 1981. In 1986 President Kolingba 
established the only legal political party, the Central 
African Democratic Assembly (RDC) . Later that year he 
introduced a new Constitution, which was subsequently approved 
in a national referendum. In that same vote he was elected to 
a 6-year term as President. The new Constitution called for 
direct election of a National Assembly and the creation of an 
advisory body known as the Economic and Regional Council. 
Assembly members were elected in July 1987 and held their 
first session later that year. 

The Ministry of Defense controls a military police force 
(Gendarmerie Nationale), in addition to the armed forces, 
which number about 3,800 soldiers. These forces share 
internal security responsibilities with the civilian police 
force (Police Nationale) under the Ministry of Interior, which 
is responsible for manning barriers on the major roads and 
keeping records of the movement of vehicles. The Presidency 
has its own security force, which has collateral 
responsibility with the border police for airport security. 

The C.A.R. is a poor, landlocked, and sparsely populated 
country, most of whose inhabitants derive their livelihood 
from subsistence agriculture. The essentially unregulated 
agrarian economy, one of the world's least monetized, has 
suffered in the past from ineffective government fiscal and 
developmental policies and a poorly trained work force. Since 
1982 the Government has tried to implement economic structural 
reforms in cooperation with international donors; but, against 
a background of unfavorable global economic trends, progress 
has remained elusive. 

While human rights, especially political rights, are tightly 
restricted, there were some positive developments in 1988. 
The National Assembly held its first working sessions, marked 
by vigorous debates on government policies, such as the 
economic reform program. Among the laws passed was a measure 
providing workers the right to organize and form unions, 
although by year's end labor elements had yet to take 
advantage of it. Nationwide municipal elections brought a 
measure of self-determination to the management of local 
government. A presidential clemency decree reducing the death 
sentence of former emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa to a life 
sentence at hard labor closed a turbulent chapter in the 
country's history. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There have been no reports of killings or executions for 
political motives by government forces. In previous years, 
there were sporadic challenges from dissidents in the 
northwest of the country. In 1988 some opposition groups 
which operated in that area took advantage of a government 
amnesty program to lay down their arms. However, highway 
robbers, both Central African and foreign, continue to keep 
the subpref ectures of Bocaranga and Paoua unsettled. 



59 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearance. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The penal code prohibits torture and provides for sanctions 
against those found guilty of physical abuse. There have been 
no reported incidents of physical abuse in the past 5 years. 
Family members, legal counsel, doctors, and clergy generally 
have access to prisoners, including prominent political 
detainees. The latter frequently receive special privileges, 
including permission to leave the prison periodically. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Under Central African law, political detainees may be held 
without charge for as long as 2 months, but must then be 
formally charged or released. Common criminals must be 
brought within 96 hours before a magistrate, who decides 
whether formal charges will be filed. In practice, this limit 
is sometimes exceeded owing to inefficiencies in the system. 
No system of bail exists. When political detainees are 
charged, local judicial procedures (which are modeled on the 
French system) allow for open-ended preventive detention while 
the public prosecutor prepares the State's case against the 
accused . 

In the past the Government has detained suspected opponents 
without charge or trial. In March 1988, the Government 
detained several students who allegedly instigated university 
strikes and demonstrations protesting government cuts in 
students' financial aid. Such demonstrations were declared 
illegal in March 1986. Five student leaders involved in the 
March 1988 strike were detained for 3 months without charges 
before being released. Three others were charged with 
disturbing the peace but were released in November 1988. 

The exact number of political opponents in exile is unknown. 
Up to four former leaders of opposition groups reportedly fear 
imprisonment if they return. The Government has made it known 
that former opponents who write and request a pardon may, at 
the discretion of the President, be allowed to return. There 
are also a few former students who fled the country in early 
1980 's, after being censured for involvement in student 
strikes still living abroad. It is believed that they could 
return without fear of imprisonment. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

In most cases involving common criminals, the Government 
permits French-modeled legal procedures to be fairly and 
openly applied and the laws to be properly executed. The 
Constitution provides that the judiciary "is guaranteed 
independence (from) the legislative and executive (power)." 
However, the President is the guarantor of that independence, 
notably in his role as President of the Supreme Magistrative 
Council . 

In early 1988, a new High Court of Justice was created to try 
political prisoners. It replaced a special tribunal made up 



60 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

of civilian magistrates and military advisers which had 
adjudicated political cases. It will function in much the 
same manner as the ordinary courts, where detainees have a 
right to legal counsel at all stages in the formal 
procedures. There is no right to appeal, although the 
possibility of presidential clemency exists. The High Court 
of Justice is expected to sit for the first time in January 
1989. 

Former emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa was tried in the Bangui 
Criminal Court and sentenced to death in August 1987 after 
being found guilty of 4 out of the 14 charges against him. 
After reviewing the trial for technical error, the Supreme 
Court upheld the decision, but in February 1988 President 
Kolingba commuted the sentence to life imprisonment at hard 
labor. The number of political prisoners is unknown. 
However, in 1988 there were several people serving jail 
sentences who had been convicted in previous years of writing 
seditious literature. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

With the significant exception of political and security 
matters, the Government does not normally interfere in the 
private lives of citizens. The law formally prohibits the 
invasion of the home without a warrant, and this prohibition 
is not generally abused in civil and criminal cases. If a 
political crime is considered to be involved, police are 
allowed to search private property without written 
authorization. To combat increasing local crime, including 
robbery and assault, citizens' action groups, called vigilance 
committees, were created by the RDC. These committees consist 
of 20 young men per neighborhood who have volunteered their 
services to patrol the streets. They have the right to stop 
suspected criminals and either take them directly to the 
police or hold them overnight. In August the RDC instituted a 
code of conduct to guide committee members, e.g., it forbids 
them from invading private property or acting in the capacity 
of a police officer. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The right of private citizens to speak publicly about 
political developments or to criticize the Government is 
circumscribed, although most people feel free to comment 
privately on political affairs. The National Assembly, which 
held its first session in October 1987, provides a limited 
forum for public discussion of government policies (see 
Section 3) . 

Newspapers, radio, and television are all controlled by the 
Government, which is careful to ensure that its point of view 
is reported. The sole regular newspaper is published by the 
Presidency. A second paper, le Petit Observateur, started 
publishing bimonthly issues in early 1988, but the Government 
subsequently banned its production, claiming it had been 
published illegally. 

Other papers appear on a sporadic basis but are closely 
monitored by the Government, and the distribution of tracts 
and literature deemed by it to be subversive is prohibited. A 
government journalist, Thomas Kwazo, who filed a 1986 



61 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

wire-service story on an alleged meeting between President 
Kolingba and ex-emperor Bokassa without clearance from his 
supervisor, was tried and sentenced to 3 years in prison. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Despite constitutional guarantees of the right to assembly, 
only assemblies of a nonpolitical nature can take place 
without government approval. Groups that register with the 
Ministry of Interior can hold meetings. Government forces 
quickly disband unlawful assemblies and, in some instances, 
arrest the participants. 

Student demonstrations during the 1986-87 school year were met 
by police dressed in riot gear, and one student was injured by 
a hurled tear gas canister. Student demonstrations and 
strikes have been banned since 1986. A student association 
was reestablished in 1987 but was officially disbanded 
following the December 1987 student strikes. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The Government generally does not interfere with religious 
activities as long as they remain strictly nonpolitical in 
nature. Religious organizations and missionary groups are 
provided religious freedom by Central African custom. No 
single religion predominates, nor does the Government appear 
to discriminate in favor of or against specific religions. 
Any group whose behavior is considered political in nature is 
quickly stifled. In 1986 most foreign missionaries belonging 
to the Jehovah's Witnesses left the country after the 
Government formally prohibited their activities. Native-born 
adherents to the sect continue to meet and worship and have 
not experienced official interference since that time. 

d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

People are generally free to move about within the country, 
although there are road checkpoints. The right of voluntary 
travel and repatriation is recognized. Financial and 
education constraints, rather than government controls, act to 
restrict most foreign travel and emigration. There were no 
known cases of revocation of citizenship. 

A reduction of political tensions in Chad since 1985 prompted 
many Chadian refugees in the C.A.R. to return to their 
homeland voluntarily. Their number in the C.A.R. declined to 
a few hundred in 1988, from a previous high of 45,000 in 
1984-85. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Despite a Constitution which grants citizens the implicit 
right to change their government, they are unable to exercise 
this right through democratic procedures. Since 1984 Kolingba 
has progressively reduced the military presence in government 
in favor of a larger civilian presence. Although in practice 
he allows his Cabinet considerable leeway in the day-to-day 
activities of government administration, Kolingba makes all 
important policy decisions. 



62 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

Within the context of a one-party state under a strong, 
authoritarian executive, the Central African Republic has 
taken steps toward expanding participation in the political 
process. For example, in 1987 nationwide elections were held 
for the 52 seats in the National Assembly. (There are 3 
deputies representing each prefecture, and 4 representing 
Bangui; all serve a 5-year term.) Multiple candidates 
campaigned vigorously, and the secret ballot elections were 
widely viewed as free and fair. While candidates were vetted 
in advance by the RDC, party membership was not required. 

The Constitution grants the Assembly the authority to debate 
and vote on legislation brought before it by the executive 
and, with the concurrence of one-third of the deputies, to 
initiate legislation of its own. Deputies are promised 
immunity from prosecution or other government interference for 
opinions voiced or votes cast during the exercise of their 
duties in the National Assembly. The first two working 
sessions of the Assembly in 1988 were characterized by 
spirited debate and occasional sharp criticism of the 
Government's proposals. But, in the end, nearly all measures 
introduced by the executive were adopted with nearly unanimous 
votes and with few significant amendments. 

Elections for municipal councillors were held in May 1988. In 
the seven largest towns, the Ministry of the Interior chose 
one member of the elected municipal council to serve as 
mayor. In the smaller municipalities, the newly elected 
councillors elected their own mayors, although the central 
Government appears to have exercised considerable influence 
over the ultimate choice. 

In 1988 women began to play a more visible role in 
Government. The national women's organization was made an 
official arm of the national party, and the President 
appointed the organization's president to the position of 
Secretary of State for Social Affairs, making her the highest 
ranking woman in the Government. The national women's 
organization was instrumental in getting a number of women 
elected as municipal councillors, but the National Assembly 
remains an exclusively male preserve. Two of the nation's 
magistrrtes are women. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

In 1988 the Government showed increased sensitivity to human 
rights issues. It responded in detail to questions raised by 
the U.N. Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance 
with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 
at its March session and by the International Labor 
Organization (ILO) conference in June. The Government 
provided detailed written observat ' ons, including counter 
arguments, to allegations in the U.S. Country Report on Human 
Rights Practices in the C.A.R. published in February 1988. 
Representatives of Amnesty International and the International 
Committee of the Red Cross visit Bangui periodically. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Although there are more than 80 ethnic groups in the Central 
African Republic, each with its own language, the Sangho 
language is spoken throughout the country. About 70 percent 



63 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

of the population is Ngbaka, Baya, or Banda . While President 
Kolingba has made statements about the desirability of an 
ethnic balance in his Cabinet, preference for high government 
and military positions has been given to members of his Yakoma 
ethnic group (approximately 10 percent of the population). 

The Constitution mandates that all persons are equal before 
the law without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, or 
religion. Polygamy is legally sanctioned, but the prospective 
husband must indicate at the time of the marriage contract 
whether he intends to take further wives. Divorce is legal in 
the C.A.R. and may be initiated by either partner. Children 
have the right to support from the father until they reach the 
age of majority. Although the Constitution forbids 
discrimination based on the sex of the individual, women have 
traditionally been accorded fewer opportunities than men. In 
1985 and 1986, for example, only 39 percent of primary school 
students and 26 percent of secondary students enrolled were 
female, according to Ministry of Education statistics. 
Certain jobs also remain closed to women, such as service in 
the Gendarmerie. There are no precise data on the percentage 
of women in the paid labor force. Many are involved in the 
marginal labor f orce--gathering food and firewood and keeping 
house while others are in commerce as market vendors. While 
educated women typically find jobs as secretaries, a few are 
moving into career paths as doctors, teachers, health care 
workers, economists, financial advisors, and managers. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

A 7-year suspension of most trade union activity ended on May 
19, 1988, when a law concerning trade union freedom and the 
protection of union rights was adopted. The new law 
guarantees employees and employers the right to establish and 
join organizations of their own choosing; to draw up their own 
constitution and rules, to elect their own representatives; 
and to formulate their program of action. By year's end, the 
right of association existed only on paper, since worker 
groups had not yet organized themselves. The two seats on the 
Economic and Regional Council reserved for workers remained 
unfilled for the same reason, according to the Government. 
Worker groups claim they cannot organize until the RDC issues 
implementing regulations for the labor unions. 

The 1988 union law neither forbids nor approves labor strikes, 
but there have been none in recent years. 

The number of workers affected by trade union legislation is 
small, as only about 10 percent of the work force consists of 
salaried employees and wage earners. The 1988 ILO Committee 
on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations 
questioned whether the May 1988 law on trade unions fully 
conforms to ILO Convention No. 87 on freedom of association. 
At issue was Article 4 of the law, which states that trade 
unions may affiliate themselves into a single national 
confederation. Some committee members maintained that this 
stipulation improperly restricts the right of unions to 
affiliate with other unions, and therefore constitutes a 
violation of Convention No. 87. Local labor leaders have in 
addition criticized the law for a provision in Article 1 that 
permits individuals to belong to a union only as long as they 
are paid employees or employers. 



64 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

The new labor law of May 1988 does not address the issue of 
whether trade unions may join international organizations, but 
the 1961 labor code permits this. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The 1988 union law, which applies throughout the country, 
accords trade unions full legal status, including the right to 
own property and to sue in court. Employers are forbidden 
from discriminating against workers on the basis of union 
membership or union activity, and infractions can result in 
the assessment of legal damages. It is too early to tell 
whether, or how effectively, these provisions will be 
enforced. Mechanisms for collective bargaining fell into 
disuse during the 7-year ban on union activity, and had not 
yet been revived in late 1988. The new law does not 
specifically address whether trade unions may engage in 
collective bargaining. 

As recently as February, there were occasional reports of 
government interference with labor leaders. Two prominent 
figures in the local labor movement were questioned by the 
authorities following their November 1987 meeting with a 
visiting African American Labor Center representative. One of 
these men has claimed that he was briefly detained in February 
by a community vigilance committee of the RDC because of his 
union activism, and that on another occasion his house was 
searched and papers confiscated. Labor legislation is applied 
uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The ILO Committee in the past noted "considerable 
divergencies" between Conventions No. 29 and 105 on forced 
labor and legislation and practice in the C.A.R. After the 
Government presented its case in mid-1988, the Committee 
concluded that "considerable difficulties still remained." 
The ILO pressed for a contacts mission to investigate these 
and other allegations of worker rights abuses. The Government 
agreed in principle and projected a contacts mission visit in 
1989. 

The controversy surrounding the issue of forced labor centers 
around several laws dating back to the 1960's. One purports 
to eliminate idleness; another requires rural farmers to 
maintain specified areas under cultivation; a third law 
specifies hard labor as a punishment for unauthorized 
political activity outside the then national party, the 
Movement for Social Evolution in Black Africa (MESAN) . The 
Government stated that the provisions against idleness are 
obsolete, are not enforced, and would be formally abrogated by 
Parliament in the near future. It maintained that the law 
concerning rural cultivation never introduced forced labor, 
but was designed to provide farmers with technical support 
services to help them increase production. As for the law on 
political activity outside of MESAN, the Government responded 
that MESAN was dissolved in 1979 and that the law was 
therefore obsolete. 

There exists a local penal practice, termed "corvee," which 
sentences men without identification papers to a day or two of 
labor--usually clearing roadside weeds. But this practice has 
not been cited by the ILO as a violation of forced labor 
conventions . 



65 



CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Employment of children under 14 years of age is forbidden by 
law. The relevant legislation is only loosely enforced. Jobs 
are in such demand that children in the labor force are 
generally limited to working as helpers in family businesses, 
such as agriculture, and in towns, selling food products or 
cigarettes . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum wages are established by the Government, and a social 
security system exists for private industry. The minimum wage 
for a manual laborer, for example, is about $40 per month, and 
about $140 per month for a stenotypist. These amounts are 
barely adequate to maintain a decent standard of living. The 
Government has not raised the minimum wage since 1980, partly 
in response to pressure from foreign donors. Much labor is 
performed outside the wage and social security system, 
especially in the large subsistence agricultural sector by 
self-employed farmers. The law sets maximum working hours for 
government employees and most people in the private sector at 
40 hours per week. Domestic employees may work up to 55 
hours. There are also general laws on health and safety 
standards in the workplace, but they are neither precisely 
defined nor actively enforced. 



66 



CHAD 



With his power base in the Armed Forces, Chad's President 
Hissein Habre heads an authoritarian government which came to 
power in 1982 after a protracted civil war. President Habre 
governs through the Council of Ministers and the National 
Consultative Council, both appointive bodies. The multiethnic 
National Union for Independence and Revolution (UNIR) , created 
in 1984 to broaden Habre's political constituency, remains the 
only officially recognized political party. In November the 
party held its second National Congress attended by 
representatives from all parts of the country. In accordance 
with the Fundamental Act of 1982, laws, decrees, and 
ordinances are proposed by the President and the Council of 
Ministers and discussed in the National Consultative Council 
prior to promulgation. 

President Habre continued his efforts in 1988 to integrate 
disparate elements into his Government. Many former 
opponents, including some who were in armed conflict with the 
Government as recently as 3 years ago, have been brought into 
the civil service and army, several at the ministerial level. 
However, President Habre's long-time opponent, ex-President 
Goukouni Oueddei, remained in exile. 

President Habre employs a large internal security apparatus. 
In addition to the army and police, it includes the National 
Security Service (DDS), the Special Rapid Intervention Brigade 
(BSIR) , rural paramilitary police (the gendarmerie), and a 
Presidential Security Service. The Government has been 
concerned about growing terrorism, believed to emanate from 
Libya, and widespread lawlessness in a heavily armed 
population. 

Chad remains desperately poor, and its economy has been 
severely dislocated by the extended war with Libya and by 
declining world prices for its principal export, cotton. Its 
estimated 4.5 million population has one of the lowest per 
capita annual incomes in the world ($178 in 1988). The 
Government relies heavily on foreign donors, particularly 
France, to finance government operations and to fund 
development projects. Some recovery was noted in 1988 as a 
stringent World Bank plan began to operate. 

Human rights in Chad remained tightly circumscribed in 1988. 
The Government continued to hold both a number of persons-- 
including some who had returned voluntarily from exile--in 
detention without charge as well as an estimated 2,000 Libyan 
prisoners of war (POW's). Reports also continued to surface 
of human rights violations, including summary executions by 
government forces in 1986. Violations of human rights due to 
war largely ended in 1987, and tensions between Chad and Libya 
eased slightly in 1988 with the reestablishment of diplomatic 
relations in October. At the end of the year, an uneasy truce 
prevailed with Libya, but the key issue, Libyan occupation of 
the Aozou strip on the northern border, remained unresolved. 
In line with his national reconciliation efforts, Habre 
appointed a broadly based Constitutional Commission in July to 
draft a constitution. The Commission was expected to present 
its final draft early in 1989. 



67 



CHAD 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no verified instances of government-instigated 
political killings in 1988. International human rights 
organizations, e.g.. Amnesty International (AI), focused 
attention on information coming to light about extrajudicial 
executions and other violations allegedly committed by 
government forces in 1986. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reported disappearances in Chad during 1988. In 
its 1988 report, AI expressed its continuing concern that the 
Government had failed to account for a number of people who 
"disappeared" in 1986 after being detained in previous years, 
and who were reported to have been executed extrajudicially by 
government security forces. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There were no confirmed reports of torture of prisoners or 
civilians in Chad during 1988. Again there were numerous 
allegations that Presidential Guard troops used beatings, 
detentions, and other forms of intimidation as a means of 
maintaining security in parts of Guera Prefecture. The abuses 
took place prior to 1988 following an armed Hadjerai 
insurrection movement in which a number of government troops 
had been killed. 

Prison conditions in Chad are poor, and abuses in handling 
prisoners, usually in the form of beatings, are common. 
Conditions are reportedly very harsh in the special detention 
centers maintained by the DDS and other security 
organizations. The lack of food and medical treatment is 
especially glaring, and prisoners in past years have died of 
malnutrition and physical abuse. AI ' s 1988 report states that 
during 1987 information was received about a number of deaths 
in detention in 1986. Victims included Alhadj Dana lyo, 
Hassana Tom, Boulema Hassana, Guilou Hassane, and Abdoulaye 
Bichara . 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Under Chadian law, the authorities are reguired to show 
probable cause in making arrests and to follow established 
judicial reguirements in detaining persons (see Section 
I.e.). However, in security/political cases, (the term is 
very broadly interpreted) , the Government has a completely 
free hand. Those who express views critical of the 
Government, or hold views different from it, often are 
regarded as endangering the security of the State and may be 
subject to indefinite detention without trial. Many detainees 
are held incommunicado, and most are never charged or tried. 
For example, Saleh Gaba, a Chadian journalist and part-time 
reporter for the Associated Press and a local Roman Catholic 
radio station, has been held incommunicado since mid-July 1987 
with no date having been set for trial. In October and 
November, there vjere unconfirmed reports that Gaba had died in 
prison in June. 



68 



CHAD 

The total number of political detainees as distinct from 
prisoners of war is not known. A number of people, primarily 
members of a clan of the Hadjerai tribe, were arrested on 
security grounds in 1987 and remained in detention during 1988 
without charge or prospects of trial. 

During 1988 Chad held in prison several hundred Chadians, 
former members of armed factions opposed to the Government, as 
well as a large number of Libyans captured during the years of 
struggle (1982-1987). The Government considers these 
captives, including the Chadians, to be prisoners of war 
(POW's) rather than "political detainees." On December 25, 
the Government freed 312 of the Chadian prisoners; less than 
150 of the Chadians remained in prison at the end of the 
year. The Government permits representatives of the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regular visits 
to about 600 POW's captured before early 1986 (mostly Chadians 
who fought on the Libyan side). But it steadfastly refuses 
ICRC access to Libyan POW's captured since 1986 (estimates of 
the number of 1987 captives range up to 2,000). A number of 
Libyan POW's have joined the Libyan National Salvation Front, 
which is opposed to Colonel Qadhafi's regime and which is 
based in Chad. These are no longer considered POW's by the 
Government. Under Organization of African Unity (OAU) 
auspices, Libya repatriated 214 Chadians, including a few 
Chadian POW's, in late September. 

The President has called for persons in exile to return to 
Chad; many of them have done so and have been integrated into 
the Government and military. There also have been reports of 
detention by government security forces of former Chadian 
exiles upon their return to Chad. AI ' s 1988 report listed 
three 1986 arrestees--Hadj a Merami, her daughter Azzina, and 
Mahamat Abdelbaqui--who were believed still held without 
charge at the end of 1988. AI also received reports of the 
detention without charge of relatives of exiled government 
opponents, including Moussa Konate and Abdellatif Tidjani, who 
as far as is known, were still in detention at the end of 1988. 

President Habre's principal rival, ex-president Goukouni 
Oueddei, remained in self-imposed exile in Libya in 1988, 
demanding a restructuring of the Chadian army and of the sole 
legal political party, UNIR. In November a major armed 
opposition faction, the Revolutionary Democratic Council (CDR) 
of the Chadian national front, led by Acheik Ibn Oumar, signed 
accords in Baghdad agreeing to return to Chad and join the 
Government. Arrangements were under way at the end of 1988 
for the repatriation of 1,000 of the faction's armed followers. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The regular Chadian judicial system (the Supreme Court and 
several lower courts) and criminal code have evolved from the 
body of law (Napoleonic Code) inherited from the former 
colonial power, France. In theory, this law incorporates 
safeguards against arbitrary arrests and provides for 
specified detainee rights, including the right to counsel and 
the right to be informed promptly of charges. 

In practice, armed conflict over more than 20 years has 
severely disrupted the legal system, and the judiciary is 
subservient to the executive. The Government has made efforts 
to reestablish civilian law enforcement in liberated areas. 



69 



CHAD 

especially the operation of the regular courts. Whether 
accused of crimes for criminal or security offenses, most 
Chadians do not get speedy trials, in part because of the 
rudimentary nature of the Chadian judicial system. There are 
only a few trained lawyers, judges, and other court 
personnel. Many of Chad's tribunals do not even have law 
books. The few trained judicial officials complain of a heavy 
backlog of cases. Trials can be held in public or private at 
the option of the Government. No legal right to a timely 
trial exists. 

There is also a traditional system of law presided over by 
sultans and chiefs. It is generally effective and fair in 
resolving property and other civil disputes and in dealing 
with cases involving petty local crime. Decisions in 
customary courts may be appealed to the regular courts. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Under Chadian law, homes may be searched only during the day 
and under authority of a warrant. In practice, there are many 
instances where the law has not been respected. Correspondence 
carried by people traveling overland in Chad is often checked 
by authorities at various points. But correspondence sent 
through the Chadian postal system is only intermittently 
subject to such controls. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Free speech is assured under Chadian law; but, in practice, 
public or private statements critical of the Government would 
be considered seditious by the authorities and would likely 
lead to arrest. There is no prior censorship on the 
publication or broadcast of information in Chad, but the media 
(radio and two news sheets) are largely government controlled 
and directed. The small Chadian press corps is careful not to 
criticize either the Government or its policies. The 
Government does permit controlled criticism of individual 
officials and ministries to appear from time to time. 
Academic freedom is nominally respected but does not include 
freedom to criticize the Government. 

The Government's treatment of foreign correspondents has been 
uneven. At times, the foreign press has been given free 
access to officials and, despite various conflict situations, 
correspondents have been allowed to file their stories with no 
prior censorship. At other times, foreign correspondents have 
been denied visas for entry into Chad or expelled from the 
country for no apparent reason. On a few occasions, 
correspondents have had to submit their stories for government 
approval . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Freedom of assembly and association is restricted. Chadians 
may assemble peacefully only as long as the purpose of the 
meeting is not opposed to government policies. Prefects have 
the nominal right to forbid a meeting, but prior permits are 
not required unless the gathering anticipated is large enough 
to cause a public hazard. 



70 



CHAD 

Membership in UNIR is voluntary. President Habre is intent on 
having a single mass political movement to which all Chadians 
belong. But he refrained in 1988 from forcing the dissolution 
of a number of former opposition political groupings, such as 
those associated with southern factions. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it pertains to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Chad is officially a secular state. Islam, Christianity, and 
other religions are practiced freely. Both Islamic and 
Christian holidays are given official status. More than 50 
percent of Chad's population is Muslim, and Chad is a member 
of the Organization of Islamic Conferences. Christian 
missionaries may, nevertheless, enter the country, 
proselytize, and provide assistance to local populations. 
They are particularly active in the south. Strictly religious 
publications are allowed to circulate freely. The Government 
neither favors nor disfavors members of particular religions. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Chadians enjoy complete freedom to move around the country 
except within military zones or areas of recent or potential 
combat. These restrictions generally pertain only to the 
northern one-third of the country and are not enforced for the 
sparse nomadic population that lives in that large desert 
region. In the north, the retreating Libyans left thousands 
of landmines under the sand; these have claimed some civilian 
victims. International travel is permitted, but regular 
passports are expensive (about $60), and travelers must be 
cleared by Chad's internal security services, a process which 
normally takes less than a week. Chadians are free to 
emigrate. 

In previous years, many Chadians fled to neighboring countries 
because of drought and civil strife. As conditions began to 
improve in 1986, thousands of these displaced Chadians 
returned from neighboring countries. Despite Chad's limited 
material means, these repatriates, as well as those Chadians 
who fled the occupied northern zone, have generally been well 
received. There are almost no refugees from other countries 
in Chad. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Under the present Chadian political system, citizens do not 
have the right to change their government. Chad has been in a 
state of civil strife since 1965, with as many as 11 factional 
armies contending at times for control of the country. Since 
June 1982, Chad has been governed by President Hissein Habre, 
who heads a Council of Ministers complemented by an appointed 
National Consultative Council (protolegis lature) . Both 
Councils are carefully balanced to promote ethnic and regional 
harmony. The source of President Habre's authority is the 
allegiance he commands from the armed forces, the security 
services, and the country's only authorized political 
movement, the National Union for Independence and Revolution 
(UNIR). UNIR's bylaws mandate the popular election of lower 
level officials, but no elections have been scheduled. In 
some areas, traditional leaders (e.g., cantonal or village 



71 



CHAD 

chiefs) are popularly elected or chosen by the subordinate 
members of the traditional hierarchy (village chiefs or family 
heads, for example). 

Having achieved success on the battlefield. President Habre 
has continued efforts at national reconciliation on the 
political front. The "Libreville Accords," signed in late 
1985 in Gabon by the Government and the opposition parties, 
provide for the eventual drafting of a new constitution by the 
National Consultative Council, to be voted on by referendum 
within 4 years. The new constitution is to provide a time 
frame for free elections. President Habre appointed a 
Constitutional Commission in July 1988 with instructions to 
present the draft of a new constitution for Chad by the end of 
1988. The Commission had not completed its deliberations at 
the end of the year, but it is expected to do so early in 1989. 

In 1984 the Ministry of Social and Women's Affairs was created 
and has since been headed by a woman. One of. the 15 members 
of the Executive Bureau of UNIR's Central Committee is a woman. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government accepted an AI mission in 1985 to discuss human 
rights, including the status and conditions of prisoners of 
war, who, the Government maintains, are held in recognized 
detention centers. It did not respond to several recent AI 
requests for information, including a request in 1986 for 
details on alleged human rights abuses committed by Libyan 
troops in northern Chad. As noted, Chad cooperates with the 
ICRC, but continues to deny the organization access to a 
significant number of Libyan POW s . Chad has no internal 
human rights organizations. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

There are 200 ethnic groups in Chad. These are roughly 
divided between Saharan and Arab Muslims in the northern and 
eastern regions, and Bantu-speaking peoples in the south. The 
latter group includes both those who have retained traditional 
animistic practices and those who have adopted Christianity. 
Over 20 years of conflict have transformed the complexity of 
ethnic divisions beyond simple north-south formulations. In 
an effort to build a national government. President Habre has 
expanded ethnic and geographic representation by appointing 
ministers, deputy ministers, and administrators from all parts 
of the country. 

Officially, Chadian women enjoy full political equality. In 
practice, neither Chadian traditional law nor the inherited 
French colonial code fully protects women's rights. Women 
contribute the bulk of labor in virtually all aspects of 
farming even though the heads of agricultural cooperatives 
still tend to be men. Women also engage in commerce ranging 
from simple market stalls to the ownership of some larger 
businesses. Women serve voluntarily in the armed forces, 
although they are excluded from officer training programs. 



72 



CHAD 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

About 95 percent of all Chadian workers are involved in 
subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, or fishing. As a 
result, the labor movement is very small and only marginally 
effective. Chad's labor laws permit the formation and 
functioning of unions subject to restrictions. The country's 
two rival trade union federations were merged in mid-November 
into a single national umbrella organization, the National 
Union of Chadian Trade Unions (UNST) , which subsequently 
became the labor wing of the ruling UNIR party. All unions 
are required to be members of the UNST, which is controlled by 
the Government. The UNST is expected to continue the practice 
of its predecessors in participating in the meetings of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) of which Chad is a 
member. Early indications are that the UNST will not seek to 
affiliate to any international trade union organizations apart 
from African bodies such as the Organization of African Trade 
Union Unity. 

The right to strike exists only after arbitration at three 
levels in two Ministries (Labor and Justice) fails. This 
process, which in effect makes most strikes illegal, has been 
criticized by the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions. The ILO is advising the Government in the preparation 
of draft language for a new labor code that would conform to 
ILO conventions and thereby strengthen workers' rights to 
strike under law and in practice. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The right of labor to organize and bargain collectively is 
established in Chadian law. But it is weakened by provisions 
that allow the authorities to intervene in the collective 
bargaining process and require prior government authorization 
for collective agreements to come into force. Government 
labor tribunals exist to hear worker-employer disputes. Their 
decisions may be appealed to the judicial system. Labor laws 
are applied uniformly throughout the country. 

The ILO's independent Committee of Experts on the Application 
of Conventions and Recommendations noted in 1988 the 
Government's stated intention to amend the labor code to 
reduce significantly government interference in the collective 
bargaining process. It also observed that further steps were 
necessary to repeal or amend ordinances and sections of the 
current labor code in order to prevent antiunion discrimination 
by employers and to eliminate provisions which prevent 
political activity by unions. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The ILO has been critical of Chad in the past for the use of 
forced labor. However, the Government is also continuing 
discussions with the ILO on revising its outdated labor laws 
to meet ILO conventions on forced labor. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment is 14 in the wage sector. 
However, as Chad is predominantly a labor-intensive agrarian 
society, children work on family farms at a much earlier age. 



73 

CHAD 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The statutory minimum for wage labor is approximately $25 per 
month, which is barely sufficient to provide subsistence. 
Given the Government's frequent budgetary shortfalls, civil 
servants below the executive level receive only 60 percent of 
their salaries on the scale established in 1977. Most 
nonagricultural work is limited to 48 hours per week, with 
overtime to be paid for any excess. Agricultural work is 
supposedly limited to 2,400 hours per year. All workers must 
have at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week, usually 
on Sunday. Occupational health and safety standards are 
established by law and ministerial decree; but, as with most 
social legislation, enforcement is weak. 



74 



COMOROS 



The Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros comprises three 
islands of the Comoros Archipelago, located in the Mozambique 
Channel between East Africa and Madagascar. The fourth 
island, Mayotte, is still governed by France. Comoros 
unilaterally declared its independence from France in 1975. 
The first president, Ahmed Abdallah Abderemane, was overthrown 
shortly after independence in a mercenary-led coup but 
regained power in 1978 when mercenaries ousted the 
increasingly repressive and xenophobic regime of Ali Soilih. 
Abdallah, who was reelected unopposed for a second 6-year term 
in 1984, is the dominant political personality in the country. 
Traditional social and economic institutions still influence 
the country's political development. Village notables and 
religious leaders dominate local politics. 

A mercenary force of about 30 expatriates continues to train 
and lead the Presidential Guard, the best-equipped security 
force in the islands. French technical assistance is provided 
to the small Comorian armed forces and the gendarmerie. On 
November 30, 1987, a group of dissidents and Comorian former 
members of the Presidential Guard unsuccessfully tried to 
capture a Guard camp in an apparent coup attempt. Three 
attackers were killed and a number arrested by the 
Presidential Guard in the aftermath. 

Agriculture dominates the economy, but, with a population of 
450,000 likely to double by the year 2000, Comoros is running 
out of arable land, and soil erosion on the steep volcanic 
slopes is an increasing problem. Revenues from the export of 
vanilla, essence of ylang ylang, and cloves continue to fall, 
covering the costs of an ever smaller portion of imports. 
There are virtually no industries, port facilities are 
inadequate, and highway and communications infrastructure is 
limited. Three major families, of which the President's is 
one, control most of the import-export business. Comoros is 
part of the French franc monetary zone. Government expenses 
far exceed revenues, and the country depends heavily on France 
for budgetary support and technical assistance. Discussions 
are under way with the World Bank about a structural 
adjustment program. 

A number of significant restrictions on human rights continued 
in 1988, especially in the aftermath of the November 1987 coup 
attempt. At the end of 1988, none of an estimated 40 persons 
initially detained in the attempt (the Government admits to 5 
still in detention) had been brought to trial. Also, the 
Government had not responded to charges that several persons 
had been tortured to death. One of the leaders of a 1985 coup 
attempt was released from prison in March, while eight or nine 
members of the Presidential Guard remained incarcerated from 
that attempt. Also in March, four persons were arrested on 
Moheli after distributing a leaflet complaining about the 
central Government's neglect of their island, the smallest and 
least developed of the four. Charges were never formally 
brought against them, and they were released in June. 



75 



COMOROS 



RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 



Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killing in 1988. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearance in 1988. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There were reports that at least three persons involved in the 
November 1987 coup attempt died of torture. The Government 
acknowledged that there had been three deaths, but at the end 
of 1988 had provided no explanation of the circumstances 
causing them. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Government has detained persons incommunicado in the past, 
especially in security cases. The number of arbitrary arrests 
and detentions, mainly by the Presidential Guard, declined in 
1988 from levels in earlier years. Following the November 
1987 coup attempt, as many as 40 people were detained, but 
most have been released without charge. The Government admits 
there are five persons in prison awaiting trial, but it is 
possible that several others may still be held incommunicado 
by the Presidential Guard. 

In regular criminal cases, a person may not be detained more 
than 48 hours without being charged. This is generally 
followed in practice. However, there is apparently no such 
limit in cases involving national security. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Constitution provides for the equality of all citizens 
before the law and the right of all accused to defense 
counsel. The Comorian legal system applies Islamic law and an 
inherited French legal code. French and Comorian experts are 
drafting a new consolidated legal code. Most disputes are 
settled by village elders or by a civil court of first 
instance. In regular civil and criminal cases, the judiciary 
is independent, and trials are public. 

There was no indication at the end of 1988 when those detained 
after the 1987 coup attempt would be brought to trial. The 
1986 and 1987 trials resulting from the 1985 coup attempt were 
criticized as unfair by human rights groups. 

With the release from prison in March of one of the leaders of 
the outlawed Comorian Democratic Front, one civilian and eight 
or nine members of the Presidential Guard involved with the 
1985 coup attempt remained in prison. President Abdallah 
considers Moustoifa Said Cheikh, the Secretary General of the 
Front, to be the only political prisoner in the country. 



76 



COMORO S 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Constitution provides for the inviolability of home and 
property. There were no known cases of arbitrary interference 
with privacy in 1988. There is no regular, systematic 
interference with correspondence. However, some members of 
the opposition believe that their mail may be screened by the 
Presidential Guard. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression, of 
thought, and of conscience. Comorians discuss and criticize 
the Government and its leading personalities openly in some 
situations. For example, social occasions, such as the 
traditional lavish, extended weddings and funerals of 
prominent Comorians, are used as opportunities to discuss 
political topics. The so-called tribune libre, an informal 
private forum for discussion of political, economic, social, 
and other issues, has been in existence for several years. 
Meetings are by invitation, but all subjects are covered, and 
the existence of the group is known and tolerated by the 
Government. Attendees include figures from both the public 
and private sectors. 

However, the Government seeks to restrict public criticism of 
its performance. In March four individuals were arrested on 
Moheli, the smallest and poorest island, for distributing a 
leaflet accusing the central Government of neglecting their 
island. No charges were ever filed against them, and they 
were released in June, but the three who worked for the 
Government were fired from their jobs. 

The local news media consist of the government-owned radio 
station and a semi-independent bimonthly newspaper, which 
generally avoid criticism of the Government when covering 
domestic events. However, the Paris-based Indian Ocean 
Newsletter, which is often critical of the Comoros, and the 
Comorian Letter, which is published by members of the Comorian 
opposition in Paris, generally arrive unhindered through the 
international mail. Other foreign journals and newspapers are 
available, as are books from abroad. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Constitution states that freedom of association is 
guaranteed. In practice, however, Comorians are circumspect 
about organizing public political gatherings. On several 
occasions in 1988, Comorians expressed their opinion by 
boycotting mass rallies the Government sought to organize to 
discuss constitutional changes. 

Various cultural, musical, and community development 
associations exist throughout the country. The Chamber of 
Commerce and Industry, which is controlled largely by the 
Government, belongs to and participates in the activities of 
regional and international chambers of commerce. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 



77 

COMOROS 

c. Freedom of Religion 

An overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim. The 
Constitution holds Islam to be the "wellspring of the 
principles and rules which guide the State and its 
institutions." However, the State upholds the right of 
non-Muslims to practice their faith. There are churches for 
the small Protestant and Catholic populations. Christian 
missionaries work in local hospitals and schools, but they are 
not allowed to proselytize. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Movement within the Comoros and travel abroad for citizens and 
foreigners is not restricted. Members of the large Comorian 
community abroad, concentrated in France, oppose the 
Government, but in 1988 there was no evidence that those 
returning to the Comoros were subjected to governmental 
reprisals . 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The current one-party political system provides no mechanism 
for citizens to change their government legally and 
peacefully. President Ahmed Abdallah is the single most 
important factor in Comorian politics and either directly or 
indirectly controls all three branches of the Government and 
makes all the key decisions. He commands the personal loyalty 
of the Presidential Guard, and his position is buttressed both 
by tradition and by his own personal wealth. Although 
Abdallah is the preponderant figure in politics, the senior 
notables, or elders, of all three islands constitute something 
of a brake on his authority. Following the 1987 coup attempt, 
for example, he met with a large delegation of the elders of 
Grande Comore concerning the situation. 

In recent years, the President's authority has been increased 
through several constitutional changes, e.g., eliminating the 
post of prime minister and appointing rather than electing 
governors of the islands. In 1988 there was considerable 
public discussion about modifying the Constitution again, 
namely, to restore the post of prime minister, to increase the 
power of the governors, to make the Federal Assembly president 
the designated successor to the president, and possibly to 
alter the provision which restricts the president to two 
6-year terms. 

In the 1987 National Assembly elections, opposition candidates 
were permitted to run, but there was widespread fraud on 
election day, and the ruling United Progress Party (UPP) won 
41 of 42 seats. In 1988 an opposition candidate won the 
by-election to fill the remaining vacant seat in the 
Assembly. A "responsible opposition" composed of about 12 
former senior officials, including the last prime minister, is 
tolerated by the Government. The group's January call on the 
President to discuss the aftermath of the November 1987 coup 
attempt was well publicized by the local media. 

Comoros continues to claim sovereignty over Mayotte, which did 
not join the other islands in declaring independence from 
France in 1975. The results of a 1977 referendum on the 
status of Mayotte--overwhelmingly in favor of remaining with 
France--has never been accepted by the Comorian Government. 



78 



COMOROS 

The French have indefinitely postponed a new referendum. In 
the June 1988 French parliamentary elections, 98 percent of 
the voters on Mayotte supported candidates advocating closer 
ties to France, while less than 2 percent favored candidates 
advocating independence or reunification with the Comoros. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Since 1986, when Comorian government officials met with an 
Amnesty International (AI) delegation, the Government has not 
responded to requests from human rights organizations. For 
example, the Government, as far as is known, has not responded 
to AI ' s call for an investigation regarding the alleged use of 
torture on some detainees held after the 1987 coup attempt. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The constitutional recognition of Islam's special status 
formalizes the deeply held commitment of most Comorians to an 
Islamic world view. The society respects authority based on 
inheritance, age, wealth, and religious leadership. 

The Constitution formally provides for the equality of 
citizens regardless of race, sex, or religion. Women have the 
right to vote and to participate, in theory, in the political 
process as candidates. However, tradition has been a powerful 
force in discouraging women from direct participation in 
politics. Women are neither veiled nor limited, in terms of 
employment, to minor civil service posts. Change in the 
status of women is most evident in the major towns. 
Nevertheless, within Comorian society, men have the dominant 
role . 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The Constitution allows workers to form unions and to strike. 
However, farming on small landholdings, subsistence fishing, 
and petty commerce make up the daily activity of most of the 
population. Hence the wage labor force is very small, and 
there are no formally constituted, legally recognized unions 
at present. There have been sporadic groupings of workers in 
various sectors (dockers, taxi drivers) who have formed 
temporary associations for presenting specific grievances, but 
these have tended to dissolve after their demands were met. 
Public service employees are not subject to the Labor Code, 
but are granted the right to organize in civil service 
legislation. There is an active teachers' association. The 
increasing scarcity of jobs is also a real restraint on labor 
complaints, organizational activities, and formal strikes. 
The Government's inability to pay wages and salaries on 
schedule sometimes results in work slowdowns, absenteeism, and 
informal, peaceful protests. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The absence of formal unions does not mean that collective 
bargaining does not exist. There are various informal 
collective conventions between workers and employers. 



79 



COMOROS 

There are no export processing zones in the Comoros. Labor 
legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
There is no forced or compulsory labor in the Comoros. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment of children is 15. This is 
generally respected. Child labor is not an issue due to the 
lack of employment opportunities for adolescents and young 
adults. Children do help in family units in the large 
subsistence sector. Young workers are active as apprentices 
in jewelry-making and woodcarving. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Most of Comoros* inhabitants make their living from 
subsistence farming and fishing. There is virtually no 
industrialization or factory activity. Jobs in the small 
modern economy are scarce, and accordingly wages are low. 
Salaried workers are found in port activities, public 
transport, three or four large companies engaged in vanilla 
processing, ylang-ylang distillation and baking, some 
remaining colonial-era plantations, as well as in a soda 
bottling plant, a commercial bank, a soap factory, and a shirt 
factory. The salaried sector numbers fewer than a thousand 
workers. The currently accepted minimum wage is approximately 
$50 per month, which is barely adequate to cover basic human 
needs. However, the hours of work in any category rarely 
exceed 35 hours per week. 



80 



CONGO 



The People's Republic of the Congo is officially a 
Marxist-Leninist state governed by an elite group of civilian 
and military officials through the single legal party, the 
Congolese Labor Party (PCT) . Chief of State and Head of 
Government, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, also serves as 
President of the PCT Central Committee. The President 
nominates the other 10 members of the PCT Political Bureau, 
the key policymaking group, whose selection is approved by the 
75-member Central Committee. Central Committee membership is 
balanced among southern, northern, and central ethnic groups. 
The military and security services are firmly under the 
control of the northerners, and they ultimately are the 
arbiters of power in the Congo. But the need to maintain a 
consensus among the competing regions and ethnic groups 
provides a check on arbitrary policies. 

The security apparatus, which is under the direction of the 
Presidency, is headed by the State Security Organization 
(DGSE) and is patterned after those in Eastern Europe. Its 
principal objective is to protect the State against possible 
dissident activity. PCT "core groups" are in all ministries, 
labor organizations, mass organizations, and urban districts 
to monitor the activities of workers and neighbors. The 
military forces are also used for internal security purposes. 

The Congolese economy is highly dependent on oil, which in 
1988 accounted for over 90 percent of exports. Sharp 
reductions in oil revenues forced the Government to cut its 
budget in half in 1985 and to accept an International Monetary 
Fund (IMF) adjustment program in 1986. In 1987 the World Bank 
approved two loans totaling $85.2 million for a structural 
adjustment program and a short-term advisory program to study 
reforms in public enterprises. The IMF program expired in 
April 1988; negotiations for a second accord were under way at 
the end of the year. Within the PCT leadership there has been 
much discussion about mismanagement of the economy. 

The human rights situation in the Congo changed little in 
1988. Most Congolese live their daily lives with little 
governmental and police interference so long as they refrain 
from opposing the Government or criticizing its goals. There 
was a coup attempt against the Government in July 1987 led by 
former army captain Pierre Anga and a few supporters with 
alleged ties to former President Joachim Yhombi-Opango . In 
August 1987, government forces engaged Anga and several others 
in battle in the northern town of Owando. Anga fled and 
remained at large until July 1988, when he was tracked down 
and killed by government troops. According to Amnesty 
International (AI), the Government arrested 60 or 70 people in 
the coup aftermath, including several of Anga's relatives, 
many of whom remained in preventive detention without charge 
in Brazzaville at the end of 1988. Also, Yhombi-Opango 
remained under house arrest in Brazzaville. Although the 
President announced in August the unconditional release of all 
political detainees and convicted prisoners except those 
arrested in connection with the 1987 coup plot, at the end of 
1988 a number of political detainees and convicts apparently 
remained in prison. 



81 



CONGO 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reported politically motivated killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reported cases of disappearance for political 
motives . 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The practice of beating suspects at police stations and at 
state security centers in the course of interrogations is 
common. The public or the police frequently beat thieves who 
have been caught in the act of stealing. Political detainees 
are held incommunicado, and it is reasonable to assume that 
police use torture to extract desired information that is not 
freely given. Several political prisoners held incommunicado 
in the past are now leading normal lives with no apparent ill 
effect. Some have regained earlier status and others are 
serving as government ministers. 

Prison conditions in general are poor, and there is a lack of 
adequate food, hygiene, and medical care. Both detainees and 
prisoners may be visited by family or friends, who bear all 
responsibility for providing food and medicines. 

AI in various statements and reports, expressed concern over 
reports of torture of some of those detained after the 1987 
coup attempt, including Lt. Colonel Eboundit, Georges 
Maf outa-Kitoko, and Eugene Madimba. The Government denied 
that Eboundit had been tortured or was in ill health. Eugene 
Madimba was resettled in France in 1988 with the assistance of 
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) . 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Constitution provides protection against arbitrary 
indictment, arrest, and detention. But, in practice, a 
warrant is not required to make arrests. There is a legal 
requirement that a detainee be brought before an investigative 
judge within 3 days of arrest. The judge may then order 
detention for a maximum period of 6 months, after which the 
detainee must be charged or released. This law does not apply 
in cases involving the security of the State, and political 
detainees have been held for lengthy periods without being 
brought before a judge or charged. The trial of those accused 
of having participated in the 1982 bombings in Brazzaville did 
not take place until 1986, and some of the accused were held 
incommunicado for several years. 

Despite the Government's steps to increase the number of 
magistrates and to improve procedures, the administrative 
processing of regular criminal cases is slow, and persons 
awaiting trial often are held for lengthy periods. Detained 
persons are entitled to legal counsel. All lawyers are 
regulated by the State. In capital criminal cases, defense 
lawyers are provided by the Government for those without 
funds. Whether a detainee is formally charged usually depends 
upon the seriousness of the crime and the economic situation 
of the family. For lesser crimes, the person is usually taken 



82 



CONGO 

to jail, where he may be beaten and held for a few days, then 
released on bail pending a trial which may or may not ever 
take place. A person accused of a serious crime (e.g., 
murder, rape) is held in prison until the trial, which may be 
held months or even years later. 

The number of political detainees or prisoners in 1988 was 
unknown. Initially the Government reportedly arrested some 60 
or 70 persons in connection with the 1987 coup attempt. The 
Government officially acknowledged the arrest of four military 
men and two civilians for alleged participation in the 1987 
coup plot. Ex-President Yhombi-Opango and Colonel Jean Michel 
Ebaka and Lt. Colonel Eboundit, the ranking military officers 
arrested, remained in detention at a government housing 
complex at year's end. After the killing of coup leader 
Pierre Anga in July, a number of his relatives and other 
associates were arrested, including his widow, a daughter, and 
two brothers. The Government claimed to have released some of 
these persons by the end of 1988 but refused to reveal the 
names of those still in detention or those released. 

In August the President announced an amnesty for most persons 
held for political offenses since 1963, except those arrested 
in connection with the 1987 coup plot. Despite this 
announcement, it appeared that at least some political 
detainees who were not connected to the 1987 coup plot 
remained in prison at the end of the year, including Georges 
Maf outa-Kitoko, Christophe Samba, and Florent Kihoulou, all of 
whom, according to AI, have been held without charge since 
1986 for belonging to an independent political discussion 
group and writing a tract calling for a "new society." The 
Government asserts they were involved in a coup attempt. 

There were no known instances of exile being used as a means 
of political control in 1988. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The legal system is not insulated from political interference. 
The Constitution provides for a Supreme Court, which is in 
practice an arm of the executive branch rather than an 
independent body. The amended Constitution also provides for 
nonprofessional judges to be elected to all courts below the 
Supreme Court. The stated purpose of this change was to 
"popularize justice," i.e., provide a role for peers to 
influence the formal judicial process. According to the law, 
any Congolese citizen may become a judge but can adjudicate 
cases only in collaboration with trained judges. Each 
nomination must be approved by the party. By law, the right 
to a fair and public trial exists in all cases, and the 
judicial process is relatively fair and open for those accused 
of common crimes. Also, it is not unusual to have a higher 
court reverse lower court decisions in nonpolitical cases. 

Political cases are tried by a special court, the 
Revolutionary Court of Justice. In February 1987, AI 
submitted a 27-page report expressing its concern that the 
August 1986 trial of 10 persons, who were convicted of causing 
bomb explosions in Brazzaville in March and July 1982, had not 
met international standards of fairness for several reasons, 
e.g., several judges were members of the PCT Central Committee 
and had been involved in the case at an earlier stage. 



83 



CONGO 

Prior to his state visit to France in 1987, President 
Sassou-Nguesso granted a pardon to a French national, Claude 
Buisson, who had been sentenced to 7 years' hard labor in the 
August 1986 bombing trial. In August 1988, the President 
commuted the sentences of four other defendants convicted in 
the 1986 bomb plot trial, including Claude Ernest Ndala, a 
former Congolese official, whose sentence was reduced from 
death to hard labor for life. Three others had 20-year 
sentences reduced to 5 years. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

There is generally little interference by the Government with 
privacy, family, home, or correspondence so long as a person 
does not engage in any activity which involves or implies 
opposition to the Government. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedom of speech and press are restricted, despite guarantees 
in the Constitution. The Government allows some criticism of 
its policies and programs judged not to be politically 
sensitive, but it does not allow its ultimate authority to be 
challenged publicly. The Government does not hesitate to 
arrest people and hold them incommunicado for expressing views 
it finds objectionable, as in the cases of Georges 
Maf outa-Kitoko and two others who were arrested in April 1986, 
and Jean-Felix Demba Ntelo, who was released by presidential 
decree in 1988 after several months in custody. The Government 
maintains these persons were involved in a coup attempt. 

The State owns and controls all media except for one weekly 
religious newspaper. A state censorship committee reviews the 
content of all newspapers, movies, books, and records. 
Articles considered to be critical of the Government or its 
leaders are censored. The Government and party, through 
general guidelines for journalists, control the kinds of news 
Congolese journalists may publish from various sources of 
information. Television viewers have access to Zairian radio 
and television, as well as to news and feature programming 
from France and the United States. While the Government 
controls the local press, foreign journalists are generally 
permitted to travel freely once an entry visa and a special 
permit for travel to the interior are obtained. These are 
usually granted. 

Academic freedom is limited. The Congolese educational system 
borrows liberally from the Soviet system in form, but it 
offers a broad range of materials, including American, to 
students . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The right of peaceful assembly is limited by the State's 
perceived self-interest. Political meetings are permitted 
only for the party and its affiliated organizations. 
Government permission is not required for groups to assemble 
for religious and social purposes, but it is required for the 
use of official facilities. Government authorization also is 
required to establish professional clubs and organizations, of 
which there are several. 



84 



CONGO 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by law, but the Government 
is officially atheist. Christmas Day, for example, is 
officially called Children's Day. Religious organizations, 
such as the Salvation Army, must obtain the Government's 
permission to work in the Congo. Jehovah's Witnesses are not 
permitted in the Congo. Members of the Baha * i faith may hold 
services but are prohibited from organizing and teaching. 
With these exceptions, the party and Government do not 
interfere in religious affairs. The Catholic Church, the 
largest single religious community, maintains a seminary for 
the training of its clergy and has missions throughout the 
country. Masses are held in the various local languages as 
well as in French. The Catholic church publishes the only 
independent newspaper. La Semaine Africaine. Catholic and 
other missionaries are active in managing private missions and 
clinics and providing other social services. While some of 
these services are joint ventures between the Church and the 
Government, many of the services formerly provided by churches 
have lapsed. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Government exercises limited control over the internal 
movement of its citizens through identification card checks. 
There are control points outside all major towns manned by 
soldiers or militia, who rigorously check identification 
documents. Congolese citizens who wish to travel abroad 
require exit authorization from the State Security 
Organization (DGSE) . Government employees traveling abroad 
must obtain permission from the appropriate government 
office. Passports must be returned to the DSGE after the 
traveler's return from abroad. The Government exercises tight 
control over travel by foreigners in the Congo. Most visas 
are for one entry only; exit visas are required for 
nondiplomats ; and those desiring to travel into the interior 
must obtain permission from the appropriate ministry. There 
are no known instances of Congolese being refused the right to 
return to their country. Citizenship may be lost under 
conditions established in the nationality code, e.g., by 
taking the citizenship of another country or after conviction 
for espionage. There are no known cases of a native-born 
Congolese being denied citizenship. 

The Congo is the home of about 2,100 exiles and refugees, 
primarily from Chad, Central African Republic, and Zaire. 
While refugees are subject to surveillance and occasional 
harassment by the Congolese Government, there were no cases of 
forcible repatriation in 1988. The Congo is a party to the 
U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of 
Refugees, and a representative of the UNHCR is resident in 
Brazzavi lie . 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: the Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The Congolese people do not have the right to change their 
government through democratic processes. While the President 
is the most powerful single person in the Government, his 
authority is limited by his need to maintain a consensus in 



85 



CONGO 

the Political Bureau and within the larger Central Committee 
of the PCT, which is carefully balanced among northerners, 
southerners, and those from the central region. Military- 
officers occupy key positions among the ruling group and help 
ensure its continuation in power. 

Opportunities for political involvement by Congolese citizens 
are limited to the Marxist-Leninist Congolese Labor Party 
(PCT), including its mass organizations, and to participation 
in the national, regional, and local assemblies. The 
Congolese Labor Party is the "supreme social and political 
organization." No other political parties are permitted to 
operate. PCT membership numbers only 8,700 out of a total 
population of almost 2 million. Membership is awarded on the 
basis of political loyalty and public service. 

The powers of the National Assembly are limited. The 
national, regional, and local assemblies are elected by 
universal suffrage from single-party approved lists, which 
contain only one candidate for each seat. The selection 
process can involve a certain amount of negotiation within the 
PCT. Incumbents have been turned out of office in the 
process. National Assembly representatives are chosen on a 
merit basis from a broad spectrum of the population, including 
party members, the army, small farmers, and workers. The 
National Assembly has some impact on social and economic 
issues, and regional and local assemblies may discuss issues 
and make recommendations before decisions are made at the 
national level. The last elections for the national, 
regional, and local assemblies occurred in 1984. 

Women play a small but increasingly visible role in the 
nation's political life. Only 600 out of the party's 8,700 
members are women. Four women are members of the party's 
75-member Central Committee, and several are seated in the 
National Assembly. The highest ranking woman in the Congo, 
Celine Eckombo, is the PCT political commissioner of the 
nation's third city, Loubomo. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government permitted AI to send an observer to the 1986 
bombing trial. However, the Government did not respond to 
AI's subsequent request to send a delegation to review the 
human rights situation or to its 1987 memorandum concerning 
the 1986 trial. There are no human rights organizations in 
the Congo. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Under the Constitution there is no official discrimination 
based on race, sex, religion, language, or social status. As 
previously noted, northerners exert strong influence in 
politics and in the security services. 

Women have the same legal rights as men in the commercial, 
political, and social domains. There is a large disparity, 
however, between salaries for men and women, and women are 
relegated to a secondary role in the modern sectors of 
society, as well as in rural society where women are heavily 
involved in traditional family farming. Among some ethnic 
groups women are often the chief decisionmakers. 



86 



CONGO 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The labor code adopted in March 1975 is quite liberal in 
theory and provides for the right of workers to associate. In 
practice, given its past active political role, the labor 
movement is scrutinized closely and controlled by the 
Government and party, largely through the umbrella union, the 
Congolese Trade Union Confederation (CTUC) , which is an 
appendage of the party. The party approves the national 
leadership of the CTUC. No group is allowed to form an 
independent, alternative union outside the party. As long as 
political subjects are avoided, there is a certain degree of 
democratic dialog within the labor movement and between the 
CTUC and the Government. 

The CTUC unions are prohibited from striking, although wildcat 
strikes do occur with relative impunity. 

The CTUC is affiliated with the World Federation of Trade 
Unions, but it is free to associate with other international 
and regional labor bodies. For example, as a reflection of 
the Congolese Government's efforts to improve contacts with 
Western countries, the CTUC leadership proposed establishment 
of a bilateral relationship with the African-American Labor 
Center in July 1988. 

Despite government assertions that the single trade union 
system results from the common will of the workers and from 
political, economic, and historical development, the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts 
has noted that a trade union monopoly established by 
legislation is in violation of ILO Convention 87 and has urged 
the Government to brings its legislation into conformity. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The CTUC is represented in every ministry and state-owned 
enterprise and serves on mandatory boards along with a member 
of the Government and the party. Known as the "determinant 
trilogy," this structure is responsible for ensuring that the 
three major points of view are represented in the 
decisionmaking process and serves as the Congo's form of 
collective bargaining. While no alternatives exist to 
striking, the local unions within the Confederation have been 
able in some instances to persuade the Government to provide 
workers with increased benefits. The entire Congolese labor 
force is treated equally under the law; there are no 
exceptions such as those granted, for example, to export 
processing zones, of which the Congo has none. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There were no substantiated reports of forced or compulsory 
labor, which is legally prohibited. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for the employment of children is 16. Outside 
the Government and major employers, this minimum is often 
ignored, especially in small family enterprises or family 
farms in the subsistence agricultural sector. 



87 

CONGO 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

In previous years, revenues from oil production allowed the 
Government to employ large numbers of Congolese in various 
government organizations, including state corporations. Owing 
to declining oil revenues and the need to comply with an IMF 
standby agreement and World Bank structural adjustment 
programs, the Government has abandoned its program 
of guaranteed employment for all university graduates. It is 
privatizing some state enterprises and has frozen government 
hiring. Working conditions for Congolese in the modern 
sector, which employs about 50 percent of the population, are 
generally good. These include a maximum 40-hour workweek, at 
least 1 day of rest per week, family benefits, severance pay, 
and medical care. There is a social security system, and the 
minimum monthly wage is $102 for urban employees. Domestic 
workers must be paid at least $75 monthly. These wages are 
sufficient to provide for a decent standard of living. 
Outside government and the large corporations, these minimums 
are often ignored. There is a code of occupational safety and 
health, although it too is probably not rigidly enforced. 
While many salaried Congolese have a generally high standard 
of working conditions and social benefits, most of the rural 
population is still engaged in subsistence farming. 



90-641 - 89 - 4 



88 



COTE D' IVOIRE 



Cote d'lvoire, a former French colony which gained 
independence through a peaceful transfer of power in 1960, is 
a one-party state with a civilian government. Power is 
concentrated in the Democratic Party of Cote d'lvoire (PDCI) 
and its long-time leader, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, 
now 83 years old. Although the freedom to form other parties 
is provided for in the Constitution, in practice no other 
party has been allowed to participate in the political 
process. More open discussion of government policies has been 
permitted since the country's first competitive elections in 
1980 for PDCI, municipal, and legislative positions. 
Membership in the party organs, the number of municipalities 
which have elected leadership, and representation in the 
National Assembly have all steadily expanded in the last 28 
years to reflect the growth and diversity of the Ivorian 
population. Basic policies are set within the PDCI, and the 
unicameral National Assembly has never publicly challenged a 
policy put forth by the party. 

The Ministry of Internal Security includes the Surete National 
and the gendarmerie, the national police service structured 
along French lines. The Surete has an arm tasked with 
intelligence gathering and counterespionage responsibilities. 
The gendarmerie is responsible for territorial security, 
especially in the rural areas. 

Cote d'lvoire has enjoyed considerable economic development 
since independence, and the country now has an annual per 
capita income of approximately $700. The Ivorian economy is 
market-oriented and open to foreign investment. During the 
1980 "s Cote d'lvoire has been squeezed by a heavy debt burden 
and falling prices for its exports, principally coffee, cocoa, 
and tropical woods, on world markets. In 1987 the country 
experienced a decline in its gross domestic product (GDP) for 
the first time since independence. Prices for coffee and 
cocoa decreased even further, and the Government was forced in 
May 1987 to suspend payments on its foreign debt. It did not 
resume payments in 1988. 

The human rights situation in Cote d'lvoire remained 
unchanged. The President continued to advocate "dialog" (in 
practice sometimes combined with punishment) in settling 
disputes, eventually seeking to involve dissenters in the 
operation of the one-party structure rather than to isolate 
them. In 1988 the Government reinstated two university 
professors, including one in voluntary exile in France since 
1983, as part of an effort to bring former "dissident" 
secondary teachers and university professors back into the 
fold. This effort also involved the use of imprisonment and 
forced conscription as a means of disciplining other teachers. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of officially sanctioned abduction 
or disappearance. 



89 



COTE D' IVOIRE 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The penal code prohibits official violence without "legitimate 
justification." The code does not, however, specifically 
mention or prohibit torture, nor does it define what 
constitutes "legitimate justification" or the level of 
violence officials may use if "justified." There were no 
reports of torture during 1988, nor any evidence of systematic 
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of persons, including 
prison inmates. Foreign Africans are treated more roughly by 
police on arrest than are Ivorians. This rough treatment is 
reported sometimes to include beatings. Prisoners are 
generally allowed visits from attorneys of their choice and 
from family members, who must provide food to supplement the 
sparse prison diet. Prison conditions are poor. Sanitation 
and medical facilities are minimal. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Constitution and pertinent statutes prohibit arbitrary 
arrest or imprisonment. The Government has, however, 
occasionally detained persons considered a threat to internal 
security. It also takes firm measures against acts it 
considers threats to internal security. The Government has 
also used the threat of forced conscription to discourage 
student involvement in antigovernment activities, and during 
the past year 20 former officials or members of the Secondary 
School Teachers' Union were detained and conscripted into 
varying lengths of military service (see Section 6. a.). 

Under the Code of Penal Procedure, a public prosecutor can 
order the detention of a suspect for up to 48 hours without 
bringing charges. The Code dictates that further detention 
must be ordered by a magistrate who can authorize periods of 
up to 4 months, but who must also provide the Minister of 
Justice, on a monthly basis, with a written justification for 
continued detention. There have been reports that local 
police have held persons for more than 48 hours in a few 
cases, but that higher officials have disciplined police for 
these violations. 

Some prominent critics of the Government have chosen to live 
and write elsewhere (see Section 2. a.). Political exiles from 
a number of countries have found Cote d'lvoire a hospitable 
safehaven. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The modern judicial system is headed by a Supreme Court and 
includes a Court of Appeals and lower courts. There is 
general agreement that the judiciary is independent of the 
executive in practice as well as under the Constitution's 
separation of powers provisions, except in cases concerning 
perceived national security issues, when the judiciary follows 
the lead of the executive. 

Defendants accused of felonies or capital crimes have the 
right to legal counsel, and the judicial system provides for 
court-appointed attorneys for indigent defendants. In 
practice, however, such attorneys are not readily available. 



90 



COTE D'lVOIRE 

Ivorian law establishes the right to a fair public trial. 
This provision is generally respected in urban areas. In 
rural areas, justice is often administered at the village 
level through traditional institutions which largely handle 
local matters such as domestic disputes, minor land questions, 
and family law. Dispute resolution is by extended debate, 
with no known instances of resort to physical or similar 
punishment. These traditional courts are increasingly 
superseded by the formal judicial system. 

Civilians are not tried by military courts. There are no 
appellate courts within the military justice system. Persons 
convicted by a military tribunal occasionally request the 
Supreme Court to set aside the tribunal's verdict and order a 
retrial . 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

All Ivorian citizens are considered to be members of the 
PDCI. Party regulations call for active participation in 
party activities and payment of dues which are collected in 
most cases through deductions from pay checks. Most party 
regulations, however, are not strictly enforced. Ivorians who 
choose not to participate do not suffer retaliation. It is 
not known what percentage of the population actively 
participates in the party. 

The Code of Penal Procedures specifies that a police official 
or investigative magistrate may conduct searches of homes 
without a warrant if there is reason to believe there is 
evidence on the premises concerning a crime. The official 
must have the prosecutor's agreement to retain any objects 
seized in the search. He is required to have witnesses to the 
search, which may not take place between the hours of 9 p.m. 
and 4 a.m. Legal safeguards against arbitrary searches are 
generally respected in urban areas but are sometimes ignored 
in the countryside. 

In 1988 there were some reports that armed members of the 
gendarmerie were directly involved in robberies of civilians, 
particularly on the highways. In the past there have been 
scattered reports of forced entry or other violations of the 
home, specifically involving foreign Africans. There is no 
evidence that correspondence and telephone conversations are 
monitored. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Free expression in Cote d'lvoire is limited. Critics of the 
Government feel free to, and do, express themselves in 
informal situations without fear of reprisal. Public 
criticism of basic government policies, the party, or the 
President, however, rarely occurs. 

A university professor, Pascal Kokora, was fired from his job 
in January after having his linguistics class compare Ivorian 
and foreign news reports of the trial of the former Secondary 
School Teachers' Union officials. After several months, as no 
alternative work was available for him, he left the country. 
In September, however, he was reinstated in his university 
position, along with Laurent Gbagbo, who had been in voluntary 
exile in France since 1983 and had been generally considered 



91 



COTE D' IVOIRE 

the leading Ivorian dissident. 

The Government owns majority shares in the two daily 
newspapers, and their editorial opinion follows the policies 
of the PDCI . The one weekly newsmagazine is controlled by the 
party. Several periodic pamphlets are published privately. 
The Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth, and Sports 
operates radio, television, and a wire service. 
Government policy assigns the media a positive role in 
promoting national unity and development. It allows criticism 
of failures to execute policy but not criticism of the 
policies themselves. Investigative journalism is permitted 
except with respect to the Government and its policies. The 
Government has occasionally banned critical publications, most 
recently the magazine Jeune Afrique in 1987 after one of its 
articles suggested that the Government of Cote d'lvoire was 
involved in the October 1987 coup in Burkina Faso. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Freedom of assembly is restricted when the Government 
perceives a significant and immediate danger to public order 
(which can include the expression of unwelcome political 
views) . Gatherings occasionally are cancelled to prevent the 
expression of controversial views in public forums. AI ' s 1988 
report notes that in 1987 the leader of an unrecognized 
opposition party and some 30 members of the party were 
arrested and held for several weeks because they had applied 
for permission to hold a party congress. All were released 
after a few weeks. As a result of student disorders in 1982, 
only apolitical gatherings are now permitted on campus, but 
students speak freely about politics in informal situations. 

Association for political purposes is only permitted within 
the framework of the PDCI, e.g., women's and youth groups. 
Association for nonpolitical purposes, such as in professional 
groupings, is permitted, but the Government may attempt to 
bring some such groups under its wing or that of the party. 
For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There are no known impediments to religious expression. There 
is no dominant religion, and no particular faith is favored by 
the Government. The open practice of religion is permitted, 
and there are no restrictions on religious ceremonies or 
teaching . 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Government exercises minimal control over domestic travel, 
but internal roadblocks for identity and customs checks are 
common. Persons stopped at such roadblocks are sometimes 
harassed by the police. Although Professor Kokora initially 
had some problems in obtaining a passport, Ivorians normally 
can travel abroad freely and can emigrate without 
discrimination. Ivorians have the right of voluntary 
repatriation. There are no known cases of revocation of 
citizenship. 

Cote d'lvoire's refugee and asylum practices are liberal. The 
country has resettled or granted safehaven to Angolans, 
Burkinabe, Ethiopians, Ghanaians, Guineans, Liberians, and 



92 



COTE D'lVOIRE 

Vietnamese. While in Cote d'lvoire, refugees receive 1-year 
renewable resident visas for their first 5 years in the 
country, after which they may apply for permanent residence. 
Cote d'lvoire does not take any significant responsibility for 
the economic and social welfare of refugees, who become the 
concern of private and international organizations. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Political participation is limited to the PDCI, which is 
headed by President Houphouet-Boigny . No opposition groups 
exist openly, and the Government does not allow their 
formation. Therefore, in practice the citizens of Cote 
d'lvoire are unable to change the one-party system of 
government . 

Within the party, the President wields power through a 
13-member executive committee, a 57-member political bureau, 
and a 208-member steering committee. Political power is 
concentrated in the President's hands, and most important 
decisions are made by the President himself. The 175-seat 
National Assembly confirms and ratifies legislative 
initiatives received from the President. During the 1986-1987 
legislative year, the National Assembly initiated its first 
legislation in history to promote job creation in the rural 
and small business sectors. 

Within this strict one-party system, the Government continues 
to encourage more open participation in the political process 
by expanding the size of party institutions and by permitting 
more party members to run in legislative, municipal, and local 
party elections. For example, in the case of the most recent 
legislative elections in 1985, approximately 577 individuals 
ran for the 175-seat National Assembly. Many incumbents were 
defeated in all three elections. 

The role of women has been given somewhat greater political 
prominence since July 1986 when the President filled the 
position of Minister for Women's Affairs, a cabinet-level post 
that had been vacant for almost 2 years. Ten women are 
deputies in the National Assembly, and 28 women are members of 
the steering committee of the PDCI. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has been cooperative toward inquiries into its 
human rights practices. It is not known what impact, if any, 
AI's appeals on behalf of the secondary teachers may have had 
on the Government's subsequent positive action. Cote d'lvoire 
has a local chapter of AI . 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

There is no overt, official discrimination based on race, sex, 
religion, language, or social status. The most lucrative 
government and private sector jobs seem to be concentrated 
among the minority Muslim (30 percent) and Christian (15 
percent) populations, a phenomenon attributable primarily to 
urbanization and access to education. All religions, however, 
are represented at top levels of government and throughout 
society. Although French is the official language and the 



93 



COTE D' IVOIRE 

language of instruction in the schools, radio and television 
broadcasts are provided in major local languages. Social and 
economic mobility are not limited by policy or custom. 

Although males clearly play the preponderant role overall, 
some Ivorian traditional societies accord women considerable 
political and economic power. Nonetheless, in rural areas 
tribal customs dictate that menial tasks are performed mostly 
by women. Female circumcision continues to be practiced among 
elements of the Ivorian population, although it is rare in 
urban populations. PDCI policy is to encourage full 
participation by women in social, economic, and political life. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers have the right to form unions, but almost all unions 
are organized within a single government-sponsored labor 
confederation, the General Union of Cote d'lvoire Workers 
(UGTCI). Secondary, university, and primary school teachers' 
unions had been exceptions until 1987. In July 1987, a schism 
developed in the Congress of the Secondary School Teachers' 
Union (SSTU), and a second group elected a new leadership 
which won government endorsement and control of the union. 
Shortly after the replacement of the Secondary School 
Teachers' Union leadership, the Primary School Teachers' Union 
asked to join the UGTCI, leaving only the university teachers' 
union independent of the confederation. 

The leader of the UGTCI occupies a senior position in the 
party hierarchy. Union membership is encouraged but not 
mandatory. The UGTCI is a relatively passive coordination 
mechanism rather than an active force for workers' rights. 

The right to strike is protected by statute, but in practice 
strikes are rarely authorized by the UGTCI. Although there 
were no official strikes in 1988, there were several "work 
stoppages." For example, workers in a factory near the 
capital stopped work to protest a management plan to reorder 
production. In this case, as usually happens, the Government 
stepped in to mediate. 

In 1983 a secondary teachers' strike was broken by a 
presidential decree ordering teachers back to the classrooms 
and threatening them with fines and prison sentences for 
noncompliance. In July 1987 at the Congress of the Secondary 
School Teachers' Union, some teachers publicly protested the 
Government's action and subsequently, in September and 
October, 16 secondary teachers, including the former secretary 
general of the union, were detained. A total of 24 teachers, 
20 male and 4 female, were suspended from their teaching 
positions. In a civil trial in December 1987, three former 
SSTU officials were found guilty of embezzlement of union 
funds, fined, and sentenced to several months each in prison. 
Upon their release, the three were conscripted into the 
military service and detained at a military camp in the north 
of the country. Eventually 20 male teachers, some of whom 
were former union officials, were detained in the camp. 
During the spring several international organizations, 
including AI , protested the detention of these former 
teachers. In early July, all 20 were released, though they 
were still, technically, under military jurisdiction. On 
September 14, all 24 teachers met with President Houphouet , at 
which time the President "pardoned" them. The next day all 24 



94 



COTE D' IVOIRE 

received full back pay and were given teaching positions in 
Abidjan for the 1988-1989 school year. 

Generally, the Government negotiates with strikers and 
resolves at least some of their economic grievances. Aside 
from the dispute with secondary school teachers and the arrest 
and detention of 20 of their members, there have been no other 
reports that professional groups have experienced persecution 
or harassment. 

Unions, trade associations, and professional bodies are 
permitted to maintain relations with recognized international 
professional bodies in their fields. The UGTCI is a member of 
the continent-wide Organization of African Trade Union Unity. 
Cote d'lvoire is a member-state of the International Labor 
Organization (ILO), and the UGTCI participates in Ivorian 
delegations to ILO conferences and events. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Collective bargaining within each company takes place under 
UGTCI leadership. The UGTCI has representatives in every 
major business enterprise, and the UGTCI secretariat often 
plays a mediation or conciliation role in relations between 
labor and management in individual businesses. There are no 
export processing zones in Cote d'lvoire, and labor 
legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There have been no reports of forced labor in Cote d'lvoire. 

d. Minimum Age of Employment for Children 

In most instances, the legal minimum working age is 16. 
However, children often work on family farms, and in Abidjan 
some children routinely act as vendors of consumer goods in 
the informal sector. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The Government enforces a comprehensive labor code, the Code 
du Travail, governing the terms and conditions of service for 
wage earners and salaried workers and providing for 
occupational safety and health standards. Extensive 
safeguards protect those employed in the modern sector against 
unjust compensation, excessive hours, and capricious discharge 
from employment. Minimum wages vary according to occupation, 
e.g., a skilled worker would earn the equivalent of 77 cents 
per hour, an unskilled worker could earn as little as $110 per 
month. At lower levels, these wages do not provide a decent 
standard of living. Wage levels increase for workers with 
more experience and skills. Month-long paid vacations and a 
substantial severance pay are guaranteed. Government medical 
insurance and retirement programs provide an element of income 
security for salaried employees in the modern sector. There 
is, however, a large informal sector of the economy, involving 
both urban and especially rural workers, in which many of 
these occupational regulations are enforced erratically at 
best. 



95 



DJIBOUTI 



Djibouti is a one-party constitutional republic with a 
civilian government. Since independence from France in 1977, 
Djibouti has been ruled by President Hassan Gouled Aptidon, 
whose Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progres (RPP) has been 
the only political party allowed since 1981. Political life 
in Djibouti is a subtle and dynamic balance primarily between 
two ethnic groups, the predominant Issa (the tribe of the 
President and the party) and the sizable minority Afar. 
Smaller minority populations of Gadaboursi and Isaak (like the 
Issa, these are Somali peoples) and Arabs are represented but 
are less influential in government. The presidency is 
considered to be reserved for an Issa (although there has been 
only one president so far) and the prime ministry for an Afar. 
The President wields considerable power beyond that suggested 
by his double role as both Head of State and Head of 
Government. The Prime Minister, who is appointed by the 
President, functions as a minister without portfolio. Real 
authority in the ruling party. Government, and armed forces is 
in Issa hands, even though cabinet ministries are shared among 
ethnic groups in rough proportion to the groups' size. 

Djibouti's armed forces have a total strength of about 3,500, 
primarily ground forces with small naval and air forces. 
France guarantees Djibouti's external security and maintains 
about 3,800 military and naval personnel in Djibouti. Laws 
are enforced and public order maintained by Djibouti's three 
national police forces: the Force National de Securite and 
the Police Nationale, both under the Ministry of the Interior, 
and the Gendarmerie, under the Ministry of Defense. 

Djibouti's narrow economic base consists almost entirely of 
services to its 10,000 expatriate residents (mostly French) 
and operation of the seaport, airport, and the Djibouti-Addis 
Ababa railroad. Since 1977 Djibouti has received tens of 
thousands of immigrants fleeing war, drought, famine, and 
political and economic conditions in neighboring Ethiopia and 
Somalia. At the end of 1988, approximately 2,000 of these 
remained in Djibouti registered as refugees with, and under the 
protection of, the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR) ; others remain as "illegal aliens." 

There was no change during 1988 in the human rights situation 
in Djibouti, which includes significant restrictions on 
freedoms of speech, press, association, and the rights to a 
fair trial and to change the government through democratic 
means. Women have full civil rights but are, in practice, 
treated as second-class citizens. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of politically motivated or government- 
inspired killing. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearance of persons for 
political reasons. 



96 



DJIBOUTI 



c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There were no reports of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or 
degrading treatment or punishment in 1988. Amnesty- 
International's 1988 report notes that some of the 103 
Ethiopians rounded up in 1987 after a demonstration were beaten 
and all were then forced into a train which took them to the 
Ethiopian border under police guard. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

A person may be detained no more than 48 hours without an 
examining magistrate's formal charge. An accused has the 
right to legal counsel, and while awaiting trial may, by a 
judge's order, be released on bail or personal recognizance, 
or be jailed pending the final verdict. In practice, detainees 
are usually released with no ill-treatment within a matter of 
days, though not always within the legally mandated 48-hour 
period . 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Djibouti's legal system is based on a mix of Djiboutian 
legislation and executive decrees, French codified law adopted 
at independence, Shari'a (Islamic religious law), and 
traditions of the native nomadic peoples. Crimes in urban 
areas are dealt with according to French-inspired law and 
judicial practice in the Cour Judiciare. Civil actions may be 
brought under either French-inspired law in the Cour Judiciare 
or in the context of traditional tribal customs in the Tribunal 
Coutoumier. Shari'a courts handle family matters only. 
Decisions of all three types of courts may be appealed; 
judgments within the Tribunal Coutoumier and Shari'a court 
systems are appealed directly to the country's Supreme Court. 
Proceedings in all courts except the State Security Court are 
open to the public. 

A special State Security Court, the Tribunal de Surete de la 
Republique, may hear in closed session cases of espionage, 
treason, and acts threatening the public order or the "interest 
of the Republic." The State Security Court was last convened 
in September 1986, when it condemned in absentia three men 
(one a former government minister) to life in prison for 
conspiracy to destabilize the State, attempted assassination 
of high officials, and possession of military arms and 
munitions. Three other defendants received prison sentences. 

The judiciary appears to be susceptible to government influence 
in cases of political interest. However, there were no reports 
that the Government held political prisoners during 1988. 
Those who express too vociferously in public views that are 
critical of, or perceived as threatening to, the Government 
face prosecution. On May 31, some 400 Isaaks were arrested in 
Dj ibouti-ville for an unauthorized public demonstration in 
celebration of Somali National Movement (SNM) military 
successes against the Somali Government. Most of the 400 were 
released over the next 2 weeks, but 18 were tried and 
convicted of unauthorized public demonstration and sentenced to 
6-months' imprisonment. The convictions and sentences were 
upheld on appeal. 



97 



DJIBOUTI 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

There were no reports of arbitrary interference with privacy, 
family, home, or correspondence. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including; 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedom of speech and press is restricted. The radio and 
television stations and one newspaper (French-language weekly) 
are all government owned and operated. The Government 
controls, directly or indirectly, the dissemination of all 
information. The news media do report on problems within 
Djibouti, but the Government itself, government officials, and 
the party are free from criticism. The media largely avoid 
reporting on crime, violence, ethnic strife, and domestic 
politics in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Public political protest is prohibited by selective enforcement 
of laws requiring permits for mass public assembly and by short 
detention of persons without charge. The required permits are 
not issued for public political meetings outside party 
auspices. Nonpolitical peaceful assembly is allowed. 
Religious, cultural, social, and commercial associations are 
free from government interference. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 5. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Djibouti is a secular republic and respects freedom of 
religion for all faiths. Nearly the entire population is 
Sunni Muslim. Holy days of Islam are legal holidays, and 
Government observes the month of Ramadan with a shortened 
workday. Persons are free to choose whether to observe or 
ignore Islamic teachings on diet, alcohol consumption, 
religious fasting, and the like. The expatriate community 
supports Roman Catholic, French Protestant, Greek Orthodox, 
and Ethiopian Orthodox churches. Foreign missionaries are 
free to operate. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Djiboutians travel freely within Djibouti and may live and 
work where they choose. Djiboutians leave for, and return 
from, international travel without restriction or interference. 
Passports are available to all Djiboutians but are invalid for 
travel to Israel and the Republic of South Africa. 

Djibouti cooperates with the UNHCR to assist and protect the 
approximately 2,000 registered refugees in Djibouti. The 
number of registered ' refugees in Djibouti decreased from 
approximately 13,000 at the beginning of 1988 to approximately 
2,000 at the end of the year due to voluntary repatriation to 
Ethiopia under UNHCR auspices and due to removal from the 
refugee rolls of Djiboutian nationals improperly identified as 
refugees. In a number of cases, notably in 1987, registered 
refugees were deported by error together with Ethiopian 
illegal aliens by the Djiboutian authorities. In each of 



98 



DJIBOUTI 

these cases, the registered refugees returned to Djibouti 
safely. Djibouti asserts its right to deport illegal aliens. 
The police routinely detain illegal aliens in the capital city 
for deportation, sometimes daily; aliens who claim to be 
refugees are allowed to present their documents or to see a 
UNHCR representative. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Djiboutians have neither the right nor the ability to change 
their government peacefully. The Issa-dominated Rassemblement 
Populaire pour le Progres (RPP) jealously guards its position 
as Djibouti's only political party, a status it has enjoyed 
since the Afar-dominated Movement Populaire Djiboutien was 
outlawed on the grounds of preelection civil violence in 1981. 
The RPP chooses candidates for election to the presidency and 
the 65-member National Assembly, a legislative body with no 
independent power. Citizens are encouraged to vote, but their 
only choice is to vote for or against the party's candidates. 
The two different ballots must be cast in different boxes, 
effectively making it obvious who votes against the party. 

No woman holds a senior position in either the party or the 
Government . 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has been responsive to inquiries concerning 
human rights practices. During 1988 such inquiries included 
one from a member of the U.S. Congress, to which the Government 
replied through the U.S. Embassy. In addition to cooperation 
with the UNHCR, the Government has given access to the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to instruct 
the Djiboutian army in international agreements governing 
conduct of nations at war. There are no private human rights 
organizations in Djibouti. No private international human 
rights organizations are known to have approached the 
Government in 1988 with inquiries into human rights practices. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The predominant status of the Issa in the party, the civil 
service, and the military discriminates against the Afar, the 
Isaak, and Gadaboursi. 

Women in Djibouti have equal status with men under the 
codified law. However, in practice women suffer from 
discrimination in education, in work, and in family matters. 
On questions of family, law such as inheritance and child 
custody, men are favored over women. Women may file for 
divorce. Men are not paid significantly higher wages than 
women for the same work, but there are few women in the 
professions. Women are active in small trade, and many women 
are employed in offices and stores. Nomadic traditions of 
genital mutilation of young girls (particularly clitoral 
excision and inf ibulation) are practiced widely. In November 
the Djiboutian National Women's Union (affiliated with the RPP, 
the ruling party) began a government-supported campaign 
against these practices; the campaign has been extensively 
covered in the government-owned press. 



99 



DJIBOUTI 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers are free to join or not to join unions as they 
choose. There are 30 individual labor unions in Djibouti, 
-many of which represent employees of only one private or 
state-owned corporation. Few unions are truly independent, 
since the Government organized and controls Djibouti's one 
labor federation, the Union Generale des Travailleurs 
Djiboutiens (UGTD--General Union of Djiboutian Workers), 
through which it exerts some control over individual unions. 

Only a small percentage of Djiboutian workers are union 
members. Relations between labor unions and employers are 
nonconf rontational on major issues; most disputes concern 
individual grievances such as a complaint about a specific 
instance of miscalculation of wages or benefits. Workers' 
rights with regard to employers are generally viewed as 
employers' personal obligations in a traditional society 
rather than as a political concept or institutional 
obligations. Employers try to assure (with a fair degree of 
success) that key positions in unions are held by persons 
sympathetic to the employer. 

Workers are free to strike but in practice, labor action is 
limited to short, ad hoc protests directed against minor 
complaints about working conditions or miscalculation of wages. 

Unions are free to maintain relations and exchange programs 
with unions and labor organizations in other countries. 
Djibouti belongs to the International Labor Organization. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Djibouti recognizes labor's right to organize and bargain 
collectively in both law and practice. However, formal 
collective bargaining virtually does not exist; both labor and 
employers seem to prefer (and expect) more informal contact 
with each other. On guestions of wages and health and safety 
conditions, the Ministry of Labor encourages direct, ad hoc 
resolution by labor and the employer. Either labor or the 
employers may initiate a formal administrative hearing at which 
the labor inspection service of the Ministry of Labor mediates. 

Wages are set by employers in consultation with the Ministry 
of Labor to assure adherence to mandatory minimum wage 
regulations. The Government determines a minimum wage 
appropriate for a particular activity. Given that the minimum 
wages were last adjusted in 1976 and given high inflation, the 
Government on occasion recommends a wage level higher than the 
minimum wage. In practice, many workers individually negotiate 
their wage with their employer. Labor legislation and 
practice is uniform throughout the small country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
There is neither forced nor compulsory labor in Djibouti. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The legal minimum age of 14 years for employment is respected 



100 



DJIBOUTI 

in practice. Children may and do work in their own family- 
owned businesses such as restaurants and small shops. There 
is almost no farming in Djibouti. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum wages are specified by categories of workers. Minimum 
wage regulations are enforced by the Ministry of Labor. 
Increased most recently in 1976, the minimum wage is less than 
$80 a month for watchmen and unskilled laborers to nearly 
$1,400 a month for "Directors" and medical doctors. The 
minimum wage does not provide a decent living for a worker and 
his family. A Western-educated professional with a scarce 
skill generally is able to negotiate a higher salary. 
Unskilled workers, in an environment with a 55 to 75 percent 
unemployment rate, have less bargaining power. Mandatory 
seniority bonuses range from 4 percent of the worker's basic 
salary after 2 years of service to 52 percent after 26 years 
of service. Many workers receive housing or housing 
allowances, transportation allowances, and meals allowances to 
complement basic wages. The standard workweek is 40 hours. 
Maximum hours of work are regulated in practice by a strict 
enforcement of overtime pay regulations. 

The Ministry of Labor enforces occupational health and safety 
regulations through inspection and dispute mediation by the 
labor inspection service. 



101 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

Equatorial Guinea is ruled by a military government, under 
Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, which took power as a military 
government in the 1979 coup that overthrew President Francisco 
Macias Nguema and ended the latter "s 11-year, state-sanctioned 
policy of terror. A national Constitution was adopted in 
1982, national and local assemblies were chosen, and the 
military government declared itself a civilian government. In 
December 1986, a single political party, the Democratic Party 
of Equatorial Guinea (DPEG) , was established by government 
decree, with the President as its titular head. Only members 
of the DPEG may vote and hold public office, but all adult 
citizens, even those who are not party members, are required 
to pay party dues. The legislative and judicial branches of 
government are subordinate to the presidency. Members of the 
Fang tribes of Rio Muni, principally the Esangui, of which the 
President and most of his closest advisors are members, hold 
disproportionate power in the Government. 

The civilian police and internal security forces fall within 
the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Territorial Administration 
and National Security. They are augmented by a 300-man 
presidential guard provided by the Moroccan Government. The 
army is the predominant element of the Guinean military 
forces. In practice, many members of the police and security 
forces also hold military rank. Most human rights abuses in 
Equatorial Guinea are attributable to members of these 
services . 

Most of the population (an estimated 350,000) live by 
subsistence agriculture, fishing, and hunting, with per capita 
annual income approximately $300. The small wage economy, 
based on cocoa, lumber, and coffee, was devastated during the 
Macias years, and by the death or exodus of thousands of 
trained and educated citizens. The economy remains extremely 
fragile, despite substantial foreign aid and attempts at 
reform, which include entry into the West African Franc Zone, 
foreign debt rescheduling, and efforts to attract much needed 
foreign investment, especially from France and the European 
Economic Community. A major barrier to economic development 
is the lack of a clear rule of law to protect and encourage 
plantation agriculture. Large plantations, which form the 
base of the economy, were abandoned by their Spanish owners 
during the Macias regime, then arbitrarily expropriated in 
1984 and transferred under very favorable terms to influential 
members of the current Government. 

While much improved since the end of the Macias regime, the 
human rights situation in 1988 was nevertheless characterized 
by continued reports of arbitrary arrests, citizen harassment 
by poorly paid police and military personnel, discrimination 
against minority groups and migrant workers, and the use of 
forced labor. In August upward of 80 persons were detained on 
suspicion of planning to overthrow the Government. In the 
third major coup trial in 5 years, a military court sentenced 
10 of the 80 (including 7 civilians) in September to 
punishments varying from death (commuted to life imprisonment) 
to 12 years' imprisonment. Defendants in this trial had only 
minimal access to legal counsel and no right to appeal their 
verdicts. National Assembly and local elections in 1988 
featured multiple DPEG candidates — thus giving the electorate 
some choice. The elections also returned delegates from 
various ethnic groups. 



102 

EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reported incidents or allegations of political 
killings in 1988. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known disappearances in 1988. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Police methods are harsh and often include beatings of 
prisoners either to extract information or to punish offenders 
for alleged insolence or disrespect. The Government appeared 
little inclined to curb such abuses. Arbitrary police 
beatings of politically powerless people, such as expatriate 
Nigerian and Cameroonian workers and members of Bubi and 
certain other indigenous tribes, continued in 1988. At least 
one of the persons detained in August as an accomplice in the 
alleged coup plot suffered broken limbs as a result of his 
detention and interrogation. One defendant stated at the 
court-martial that his alleged confession was provided only in 
the hope of halting nearly 2 weeks of torture. 

Mistreatment of prisoners in more routine cases was condemned 
officially but in fact was tolerated. Prisoners are dependent 
on their families for food. Prison conditions are unhealthful, 
and medical care is almost nonexistent. Prisoners often are 
forced to sleep and sit on the floor, occasionally are denied 
exercise, and are required to work on private plantations. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Despite constitutional provisions, there was no enforcement of 
the right of a person in detention to be charged or released 
within a certain period of time, to have access to a lawyer, 
or be released on bail. Arbitrary arrests by security forces 
or police were commonplace, often on spurious charges in order 
to extort money. Many of the persons detained in August were 
taken at night from their homes with no explanation of the 
accusations against them. Many were held incommunicado 
throughout their interrogations, even though they were not 
subsequently formally charged or tried. 

There were no known cases of any citizens being stripped of 
their citizenship or exiled abroad in 1988. With regard to 
forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Ministry of Justice made little progress in 1988 in 
establishing a fully functioning legal system, and the 
executive branch acted with little fear of judicial review. 
The justices on the highest court, the Supreme Court, serve at 
the pleasure of the President. Of 12 Supreme Court positions, 
only 3 had been filled by the end of 1988. The tribunal 
provided for by the Constitution to decide constitutional 
issues has never been established. Under the Constitution, 
military tribunals hear all civil criminal capital offenses. 



103 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

The current court system, which often uses local customary 
law, is a combination of traditional, civil, and military 
justice, and operates in an ad hoc manner for lack of 
established procedures and experienced judicial personnel. It 
is not known how frequently people are denied trials, since 
many detainees deal directly with the arresting authorities 
and resort to bribes to gain their freedom. Most trials are 
brief. In cases of petty theft or civil disputes, all parties 
are brought before a judge for trial. In civil and criminal 
cases, the judge often levies a fine in lieu of imprisonment. 
In cases involving senior officials, exclusion from public 
office and confinement to traditional villages are common 
means of punishment. Most of Equatorial Guinea's estimated 20 
lawyers work at least part time for the Government and 
consequently are unable to challenge government actions 
effectively. 

Laws are enacted by decree and are not published or otherwise 
effectively promulgated. As there are no legal libraries or 
independent resource facilities, citizens are seldom able to 
determine the laws in effect or whether they have been charged 
with a bona fide offense. 

The most important case in 1988 was the 3-day public trial in 
September of 10 persons (1 in absentia) accused on various 
counts of plotting to assassinate the President and other 
senior officials; espionage; dereliction of official duties; 
fraud; and undermining internal and external security. The 
single defense attorney was unable to cross-examine 
prosecution witnesses or call upon witnesses for the defense. 
Of the nine defendants present, the tribunal sentenced two to 
death and the remainder to prison terms varying from 12 to 30 
years. By a presidential decree signed the following day, the 
two death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. The 
speed of the judicial process, the questionable legal basis of 
the charges brought, the doubtful jurisdiction of the military 
tribunal, the lack of independent defense counsel, and the 
absence of appeal procedures raised serious doubts whether the 
defendants received a fair trial. Many local observers 
concluded that the defendants were charged and convicted on 
the basis of having political beliefs at variance with the 
Government's, rather than on the basis of the charges against 
them. 

The exact number of political prisoners was unknown but was 
believed to be small. The Government does not admit to 
holding any political prisoners. There was still no 
information available on the fate of 26 persons tried in July 
1983 on charges stemming from a coup attempt in May 1983. One 
person, whose death sentence was commuted to life 
imprisonment, was interviewed on local television in November 
to dispel rumors he had been killed in prison. Otherwise, the 
Government reported only that the majority of the accused 
received sentences varying from 5 to 10 years. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

There were reports of arbitrary interference with privacy, 
including pressure by authorities to join the sole political 
party (DPEG) and to participate in "spontaneous" government- 
sanctioned celebrations. Persons deemed suspicious were 
sometimes placed under surveillance, and there was a general 
belief that telephone conversations were routinely monitored, 
although correspondence remained sacrosanct. Search warrants 



104 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

were not normally used, even though they are required by the 
Constitution. There was no forced resettlement of population 
and no interference with the right to marry and to have 
chi Idren. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Open criticism of the Government is not permitted. The media 
that exist in Equatorial Guinea are government owned and 
operated. The two national newspapers (published 
sporadically) are in fact government bulletins. The radio and 
television stations transmit only official government 
bulletins and other programs that are approved in advance. 

In general, the Government does not permit the sale or 
distribution of publications openly critical of its conduct. 
Foreign newspapers containing articles critical of the 
Government are sometimes confiscated from citizens upon 
arrival at Malabo's international airport. A quarterly 
publication of the Spanish-Guinean cultural center in Malabo 
was suppressed until an article about the status of women in 
Equatorial Guinea, which was offensive to one member of the 
Government, was removed from all copies. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Citizens are not free to associate publicly with others to 
discuss political or economic matters at variance with 
government policy, notwithstanding constitutional guarantees 
to the contrary. The Government stated repeatedly that it 
would not permit opposition political organizations nor 
tolerate unsanctioned political rallies and assemblies. 
Private nonpolitical groups, such as professional 
organizations, churches, and sports groups generally require 
government approval and licensing. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Until late 1985, there had been complete freedom of religion 
in predominantly Roman Catholic Equatorial Guinea. In 
December 1985, the Jehovah's Witnesses and several small 
Pentecostal groups were banned, and their churches and meeting 
houses closed, ostensibly due to their proselytizing 
activities. In 1986 and 1987, church members were placed 
under house arrest, harassed, and reportedly forced to do 
manual labor despite the fact that they had not been convicted 
or charged with any crime. After several unsuccessful 
appeals, 10 noncitizen Witness missionaries were expelled from 
the country in late 1987, and 80 local Witnesses were 
forbidden to practice their religion. During 1988 foreign 
clergy and missionaries of several other faiths were still 
active and had government permission for their activities. 
Training clergy in the approved denominations and religious 
education was permitted. In general, active proselytizing by 
Protestant denominations is discouraged, but conversions are 
permitted. All denominations are allowed to be active in 
charitable activities. With the exceptions noted above, there 
was no job discrimination on the basis of religious faith. 



105 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

There were no explicit restrictions on travel within the 
country. However, a person found without a job in any part of 
the country except his own town or village could be picked up 
by the police and subjected to a short period of forced labor, 
followed by obligatory return to his place of origin. 

There were no reports of any additional Guinean refugees 
fleeing the country in 1988, but a large number of refugees 
from the former regime continued to reside in Spain, France, 
Cameroon, and Gabon. Many of them voiced fear of repression 
from the current Government if they returned, and alleged that 
their passports were restricted to prevent travel back to 
Equatorial Guinea. The poor state of the economy was believed 
to be the main reason why many remained abroad. 

The Government proclaimed repeatedly that returnees need not 
fear persecution, but they could engage in political 
activities only within the sanctioned one party system. In 
July the Government sponsored the repatriation of 
approximately 2,000 of its citizens from neighboring Gabon, 
where many had been arrested and ordered deported for visa 
violations. Brought back to the island of Bioko aboard 
Equatorial Guinea's sole merchant ship, many of the indigent 
Guineans remained in temporary shelters for several weeks 
until they could make passage back to the mainland. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens do not have the right to change their government by 
democratic means. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo took power 
in 1979 in a military coup that toppled the Macias regime. He 
then used the 1982 plebiscite, which involved only approval or 
disapproval of the Constitution, to declare himself 
President. He will face reelection in 1989 upon completing 
the present 7-year term established by the Constitution. 
Members of the National Assembly, some of whom are elected and 
some appointed, are chosen for 5-year terms. While the 
Assembly includes members of minority groups and is 
theoretically the legislative branch of government, it is 
powerless to take any action not sanctioned by the President 
or his Council of Ministers. According to the Constitution, 
the President has the power to suspend virtually all rights 
provided for in the Constitution when a threat to national 
security or a national emergency exists, and the President 
himself determines when such a threat exists. 

Only members of the DPEG may hold public office, and the party 
controls the selection of all candidates. In 1987 a 
presidential decree mandated that all adult citizens of 
Equatorial Guinea should pay dues to the party, whether or not 
they are members. Deductions of 3 percent were made from 
adults' wages and salaries for deposit into the party's 
treasury. 

-Elections were held throughout 1988 to select local and 
provincial leaders as well as members of the National Assembly 
for new 5-year terms of office. Although all candidates are 
required to be members of the DPEG, there were multiple 
candidates for most positions. Candidates opposed to current 
government policies were not allowed to contend for office. 



106 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

In late 1988, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was elected as 
head of the DPEG. 

Women have played only a minor although increasing role in 
politics. They made gains in the 1988 elections. The highest 
government positions held by women are the deputy ministers of 
labor and of health, the mayors of two towns, 5 members (out 
of 60) of the National Assembly, 1 ambassador overseas, and 
the Presidential Advisor for Public Health and Social Action 
(who is also the wife of the President) . Women now hold 
approximately 5 percent of the public positions, elective and 
appointive. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The current Government has denounced and reversed the 
widespread savagery of the previous regime. It also has been 
willing to discuss human rights issues with international and 
nongovernmental organizations. It allowed a United Nations 
human rights team to visit Eguatorial Guinea in 1986. (The 
U.N. report had still not been released by the end of 1988.) 
A group from Amnesty International visited Eguatorial Guinea 
in February 1988 at the request of the Government and was 
granted free access to citizens and government officials. 
There are no local human rights groups in Equatorial Guinea. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The law states that both sexes and all tribal groups are equal 
and entitled to the same rights and privileges. Members of 
the Fang clans, principally the Esangui, comprise more than 70 
percent of the population and dominate life in Equatorial 
Guinea, including the allocation of top government positions. 
The Bubi tribe comprises approximately 15 percent of the 
population and has historically been the majority on the 
island of Bioko, where the capital is located. The Bubis 
often are subjected to arbitrary discrimination by lower level 
police, military, and other government officials, including 
verbal and physical abuse. They and other tribal groups such 
as Playeros, Fernandinos, and less favored Fang clans are 
similarly discriminated against in opportunities for economic 
and social advancement. 

For a variety of historical, cultural, and economic reasons, 
women are accorded a lower social status than men, and have a 
correspondingly lesser influence in society and government. 
Social tradition, and the fact that women produce and market 
most of the basic staple food items, have kept most women 
engaged in agricultural or domestic work. Many more males 
than females enter and graduate from secondary school. In 
some of the country's ethnic groups, property ownership and 
inheritance are matrilineal. Although bridal dowries are 
given, women have the same freedom as men to choose their 
marriage partners. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Equatorial Guinea is a member of the International Labor 
Organization. Labor unions, although not specifically 
prohibited by the Constitution, do not exist in Equatorial 



107 



EQUATORIAL GUINEA 

Guinea. The right to strike is forbidden. There are several 
cooperatives (for farmers, taxi drivers, and individual market 
entrepreneurs), which have a limited voice in establishing 
licensing and transportation fees. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

These rights are not enshrined in law or practice, nor are 
there mechanisms to promote voluntary worker-employer 
negotiations. There are no export processing zones in 
Equatorial Guinea. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The Government continued to round up so-called vagrant illegal 
aliens (particularly Ghanaians, Nigerians, and Cameroonians) 
and force them to engage in compulsory labor. These roundups 
were a means of obtaining free labor and were often linked to 
seasonal needs on the plantations of important government 
officials, the preparation for national holidays, or the 
arrival of visiting dignitaries. This was also widely 
practiced by officials against Equatorial Guinean citizens 
detained (but not subsequently charged or convicted) on minor 
offenses. These actions are not provided for in the law, but, 
given the benefits to senior government officials, there has 
been no move to abolish this practice. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment is 16, but there was little 
enforcement of this law. Traditionally, children assist their 
parents in raising crops and marketing produce on a part-time 
basis . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

There is only a small industrial sector in the country. Most 
salaried employment is provided by the Government, construction 
companies, businesses providing retail goods and services, and 
the plantation agricultural sector. Equatorial Guinea had a 
statutory minimum wage of approximately $35 per month and an 
average monthly wage of approximately $70 in 1988. Only a 
small percentage of the population had regular salaried 
employment. Of those who did, the majority were required to 
supplement this income by other paid employment or farming to 
provide a decent living for themselves and their families. By 
law, working conditions included a maximum 48 hours workweek 
with a full day of rest each week plus regularly scheduled 
national holidays. There was no effective monitoring of 
workhours or labor conditions outside the Government. 



108 



ETHIOPIA 



The People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) is a 
one-party state with a Soviet-style Constitution. President 
Mengistu Hai le-Mariam' s dominant position remains 
unchallenged: he is Chief of State, Commander-in-Chief of the 
armed forces, and General Secretary of the Workers' Party of 
Ethiopia (WPE) . The Marxist-Leninist WPE, established in 
1984, is the sole political party and the most powerful 
institution in the PDRE. The two meetings of the newly 
elected Shengo (Parliament) confirmed that its role was 
largely confined to rubber stamping provisions adopted months 
earlier by the 23-member Council of State. 

Ethiopia deploys the largest standing army in Africa south of 
the Sahara, numbering 250,000-300,000 members. It uses this 
force primarily to pursue military solutions to the armed 
insurgencies of varying intensities directed against the 
Government. Although recent military setbacks have encouraged 
Ethiopia to seek diplomatic rapprochement with Sudan and 
Somalia, Ethiopia continues to offer some support to rebel 
movements fighting against its neighbors. Domestically, the 
Government has an extensive internal security apparatus which 
uses a comprehensive system of surveillance and informers to 
maintain its control over the population. 

The PDRE remains committed to a centralized, planned economy 
based on Socialist principles. Under pressure from the donor 
community, the Government agreed to certain minimal changes in 
agricultural policy in 1988. The effect of the changes, 
especially greater incentives for farmers, on production has 
yet to be seen. The economy of the world's poorest country 
(according to the World Bank)- currently suffers not only from 
drought and famine, but also from continuing ideological 
constraints, such as priority of funding for state farms in a 
nation of small independent farmers. Success by rebel groups 
in the north and declaration of a national emergency have led 
to economic disruption as development and other resources (and 
an obligatory "donation" of 1 month's salary) are diverted to 
the war effort . 

Ethiopia's human rights record remained deplorable in 1988. 
The Constitution, which provides a legal basis for respect for 
human rights, was hardly adopted before the Government 
declared a national state of emergency in Erttrea and Tigre 
and voided constitutional protection there. Following rebel 
military successes in early 1988, the Government expelled 
expatriate relief workers from Eritrea and Tigre and denied 
relief distributions to more than a million Ethiopians thought 
to be at risk of starvation in areas of the country contested 
by the rebels. Both the Government and insurgent groups 
exchanged charges of atrocities committed against civilians. 
The resettlement program, which resumed in a "voluntary" 
fashion in late 1987, attracted renewed criticism in 1988--and 
was again put on hold--after an incident at Korem in which 
peasants resisting resettlement were shot. Regional 
instabilities led to dramatic increases in refugee influxes 
from Sudan and Somalia. The PDRE ' s intransigence on granting 
regular unrestricted access to the refugees hindered 
international humanitarian assistance to them. On the 
positive side, the Government released 7 members of the former 
royal family, released some 25 persons imprisoned for 
assisting the emigration of Ethiopian Jews, and exchanged 
prisoners of war from the 1977-78 war with Somalia. 



109 



ETHIOPIA 



RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 



Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

In 1988 the northern military situation was the major 
influence on the human rights situation in Ethiopia. The 
intensification of fighting between the Government and 
opposition groups in Tigre and Eritrea has led to increased 
claims on both sides of human rights abuses. There have been 
charges, some substantiated, of indiscriminate bombing by 
Ethiopian government forces of civilian targets. There have 
also been reports, on both sides, of executions of young males 
who have tried to avoid military service. Furthermore, up to 
100 civilians may have been massacred by the Eritrean People's 
Liberation Front (EPLF) for attempting to prevent the military 
recruitment of young Afar tribesmen. The Government has 
charged the rebels with selected acts of terrorism against 
government facilities and officials in various northern 
cities. Because of the lack of access to the north by the 
international community, most other charges of abuse cannot be 
confirmed. Rebels accuse the Government of employing napalm 
and charge that massacres of hundreds of civilians occurred at 
El Sheib in May and at Hauzien in June. 

b. Disappearance 

There have been no confirmed reports of disappearances since 
the installation of the PDRE in September 1987. Rebel groups 
claim that disappearances attributable to the Ethiopian 
military are common in the northern conflict areas, but these 
claims cannot be confirmed. 

The well-publicized disappearance in May 1986 of the Ethiopian 
Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador 
to Canada, Berhanu Dinka, remained unresolved despite pressure 
by many Western governments for information concerning his 
whereabouts. No charges were known to have been filed 
against him, but there were unconfirmed reports that he was 
transferred in July 1987 from the "third police station" (an 
Addis Ababa torture and interrogation center) to the so-called 
Gebi Prison in the basement of the Menelik Palace. 

Guerrilla groups in the north have kidnaped relief workers 
operating in conflict areas. Two Italian contractors working 
at a village settlement scheme, kidnaped by the Ethiopian 
Peoples Revolutionary Party (EPRP) in November 1987, were 
released in May 1988; another Italian technician was kidnaped 
in June and was released in December. In February Tigre 
People's Liberation Front (TPLF) guerrillas kidnaped 6 
expatriate relief workers and held them several days before 
releasing them. In April the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) 
captured 2 Irish aid workers in a resettlement area and held 
them several days. It appeared that some of the kidnapings 
were in protest of Western donor involvement in resettlement 
schemes. The OLF, particularly, has protested the 
displacement of the Oromo people, to whose traditional land 
the settlers have been moved. 



no 



ETHIOPIA 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The new Constitution notably omits a passage from the 1955 
Constitution prohibiting cruel and inhuman punishment. 
Torture has been used against members of most opposition 
groups, both those opposed for ideological reasons and those 
opposed for a combination of ideological and ethnic/regional 
separatist reasons, 'such as the EPLF in Eritrea, the TPLF in 
Tigre, and the OLF among the Oromo . 

Political prisoners are initially taken to central 
investigation centers operated by the Ministry of Interior, 
such as the "third police station" in Addis Ababa or the 
Mariam Gimki Center in Asmara. Interrogation is often 
combined with physical abuse, especially for those suspected 
of affiliation with an opposition or insurgency group. Common 
methods of torture included prolonged beating on the soles of 
the feet, prolonged suspension from a rope in a contorted 
position, death threats, mock executions, sleep deprivation, 
and submergence to the point of unconsciousness in tanks of 
dirty water. Amnesty International's (AI) 1988 report, which 
covers events in 1987, notes that the organization continued 
to receive persistent reports of the torture of suspected 
government opponents after their arrest. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Despite the PDRE ' s new Constitution providing for arraignment 
in court within 48 hours, arrest warrants, a fair trial, 
protection against self-incrimination and the right to 
counsel, Ethiopians suspected of antigovernment actions or 
sentiments continue to be subject to arrest or detention by 
the police without charge or judicial review. In politically 
sensitive arrests, the Government generally prefers to operate 
in secret, taking the suspect from home at night. In most 
cases, political detainees are held incommunicado, without 
charge and without legal representation, at least initially 
and sometimes for the length of their term of incarceration. 
The term of confinement for a suspect held without legal 
charge is subject to the whim of the detaining official or 
agent. Most of the 2,000-3,000 political detainees and 
prisoners (as estimated by outside human rights groups) still 
have not been formally charged or sentenced. In fact, some 
detainees continued to be held without charge 14 years after 
their detention. Because of limited information available, no 
estimate of the number of persons detained in 1988 can be 
made. However, unlike in previous years, there were no 
reported instances of prominent Ethiopians being taken into 
custody. 

Constitutional guarantees have also been curtailed by the 
deteriorating security situation in the north, the imposition 
of a state of emergency in 2 of the country's 14 provinces (as 
allowed in the Constitution), and the PDRE ' s obsession with 
internal security very broadly defined. The state of 
emergency suspends many rights by granting broad powers to an 
Administrator General appointed by the President, by 
establishing military courts, and by empowering the security 
forces to stop, detain, and hold indefinitely (at any time, 
without court or prosecutor's warrant) any person who has 
violated or who is suspected of having violated the special 
decree or who in any manner disturbs law and order within the 
emergency areas. 



Ill 



ETHIOPIA 

Since imposition of the state of emergency in Tigre and 
Eritrea, there have been numerous reports alleging the 
arbitrary arrest of Eritreans suspected of being rebel 
sympathizers, and, often, their incarceration without being 
charged. Although lack of access to the north limits 
monitoring of these abuses in the emergency areas, there were 
confirmed reports of the arbitrary arrest of several Eritreans 
in Addis Ababa who remain incarcerated without charge. 

There were several credible reports in 1988 of young males 
being forcibly conscripted on both the Government and the 
rebel side. On the Government side, armed soldiers, kebele 
officers, or local militias reportedly rounded up young males 
from the streets, from school rooms, and from door-to-door 
searches of homes and immediately impressed them into 
service. Those who tried to evade conscription allegedly were 
shot (see Section l.a.). (Kebeles, urban neighborhood 
associations, are the primary units of urban administration.) 
On the rebel side, there have been reports that the EPLF 
forcibly recruited Afar tribesmen for military service and 
killed civilians who attempted to protect the young Afars from 
conscription. 

The number and treatment of prisoners held by government 
forces and rebel groups are unknown. Some reports indicate 
that the treatment of PDRE prisoners by some guerilla forces 
generally has been good. The Government apparently does not 
recognize rebels captured in battle as prisoners of war, but 
rather treats them as traitors, either executing or 
imprisoning them. The Government considers its own soldiers 
captured by insurgent forces as deserters who merit execution, 
imprisonment, or immediate reassignment to the war front if 
returned. However, the fate of 127 prisoners of war returned 
to Ethiopia from Eritrea via Djibouti in October is unknown. 
The Government prevents relief organizations from providing 
communications between families and the PDRE prisoners in 
rebel hands. In 1987 the EPLF allowed the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) limited access to some of 
its prisoners, but later, due to strained relations with the 
ICRC, the EPLF terminated the program. 

There were some positive human rights developments in 1988, 
including the release from prison of the 7 remaining female 
members of the Ethiopian royal family who had been 
incarcerated since 1974 (3 male members remain in detention) 
and the release of approximately 25 people arrested in 1987 in 
Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, and Gondar for reportedly arranging 
the surreptitious emigration of Jews from Ethiopia. The 
Ethiopian Attorney General was reported to have begun a prison 
census in 1988 to determine which prisoners were being held 
without charge or trial in violation of the new constitutional 
provisions. Recently, a major diplomatic initiative by the 
PDRE to improve its relations with Somalia led to a 
reestablishment of diplomatic relations and a negotiated 
prisoner exchange through the ICRC for those captured during 
the 1977 war between the two countries. 

Many Ethiopians remain in exile unable to return to Ethiopia 
for fear of persecution. One million Ethiopians reside as 
refugees in neighboring countries. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 



112 



ETHIOPIA 

e. Denial of a Fair Public Trial 

The modern court system has the Supreme Court at the apex and 
includes magistrate courts and a Special Court of Appeal. The 
loosely controlled military courts established in Tigre and 
Eritrea under the state of emergency, which have jurisdiction 
over a wide range of activities, operate without regard to 
constitutional protections. 

There continued to be no real separation between the executive 
branch and the judiciary. Courts are subject to political 
control and are responsive to the requirements of Ethiopia's 
leadership. Law enforcement, centralized in the Public 
Security Section of the Ministry of Interior, continued to 
bypass judicial procedures in the interest of state security 
regardless of constitutional provisions. 

In practice, the right to a fair public trial is observed and 
respected in civil and criminal cases of a nonpolitical 
nature. These cases generally are based upon the submission 
of evidence in a public setting. Minor cases are tried at the 
kebele level, while more serious criminal accusations are 
tried in courts where the accused has access to 
court-appointed lawyers. The criminal court system is open to 
political manipulations. For example, in one case in 1987, a 
high official, arrested for political reasons, was sentenced 
to more than 15 years in prison for a minor infraction after a 
trial which the judge himself agreed was based solely on 
circumstantial evidence. 

When the Ministry of Interior allows political trials to take 
place, they are almost always held in secret, with only the 
verdict (if even that) publicly announced. Prisoners cleared 
of charges or whose terms have been completed are not always 
promptly released from prison. AI ' s 1988 report notes the 
difficulty in obtaining information on political prisoners but 
mentions several categories of prisoners, e.g., those held on 
suspicion of having links with armed opposition forces (often 
based only on ethnic origin) and those attempting to flee the 
country, an offense which in special cases can bring the death 
penalty. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Constitution provides for the "inviolability of the house" 
and protects against unlawful entry into private homes. In 
reality, as in the past, warrants are not used for searches of 
offices or private homes. In Eritrea and Tigre the state of 
emergency grants the armed forces great latitude in searching 
or even confiscating suspected premises. 

Surveillance of persons--both visual or through the use of 
listening devices--continues with no legal restraints. All 
mail is subject to government monitoring. Ethiopian citizens 
can be called in at any time for questioning by authorities 
and for mandatory kebele meetings, political rallies, or 
marches. Refusal to appear for any of the above may result in 
imprisonment without hearing. 

Local kebele association officials monitor urban Ethiopians, 
whereas peasant association leaders perform the same function 
in the countryside. These officials monitor visitors 
received, items brought in and out of houses, any meetings, 
and adherence to local curfews. The scope of such 



113 



ETHIOPIA 

surveillance and petty interference in the private lives of 
Ethiopian citizens depends heavily on the makeup of the kebele 
and its leadership. 

Government proclamations designed to enforce Socialist 
patterns of work make it illegal for a private farmer to 
employ laborers on his farm or to own more than one home. 
Such proclamations, however, are apparently ignored in some 
remote areas of the country. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

There is no freedom of speech or press in Ethiopia. The 
Government closely monitors the pronouncements of public 
officials, academics, and clergy. Some instructors and 
professors in secondary schools and at the university have 
resisted the politicization of education. Academic freedom, 
although seriously circumscribed, especially in the political 
and social sciences, still finds limited expression at the 
university. 

The Government owns and operates all information media and 
exercises censorship through editorial boards and the Ministry 
of Information. Expression of unauthorized political opinions 
or of views at variance with the official government line can 
result in imprisonment. Political, economic, and social 
policies are formulated at top levels of government, then 
disseminated and monitored through the government-controlled 
media and government-organized citizen groups. 

Books and magazines can be confiscated if deemed to contain 
sentiments opposed to the regime. Foreign magazines and 
newspapers are not readily available since foreign exchange is 
not granted to purchase them. Foreign radio broadcasts are 
widely listened to by the Ethiopian elite. There is no 
evidence of overt attempts by the Government to interfere with 
radio reception. 

Local journalists are all considered to be government 
employees. Foreign journalists often have difficulty in 
obtaining visas, and the Government frequently restricts 
access to areas outside Addis Ababa, including the areas of 
conflict and famine and refugee camps. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Notwithstanding constitutional provisions, assembly of any 
sort, not previously approved by the Government, is strictly 
forbidden. In the few reported incidents of unauthorized 
assemblies, the Government reacted by sending the participants 
to rural settlement schemes, or, in the case of students, by 
refusing their return to the university. In contrast, 
attendance at government-sponsored rallies, meetings and 
parades is frequently mandatory and enforced by a wide range 
of sanctions. Ethiopians, traditionally cautious in their 
associations with one another and with foreigners, have become 
even more so under the present regime. Frequent or close 
association with foreigners can result in questioning, arrest 
and detention. Professional associations, such as the Rotary 
and Lions Clubs, are allowed to operate although their 
membership and activities presumably are monitored by the 
Government. Trade and professional associations were 
reorganized in 1986 by the Workers Party of Ethiopia. New 



114 



ETHIOPIA 

boards were selected for these groups from members approved by 
the party. 

In October 1987 and early 1988, students at two University of 
Addis Ababa campuses demonstrated against living conditions in 
the dormitories and the removal of the dean of students. 
About 10 students were arrested for their alleged leadership 
role in the demonstrations, but they were released a short 
time later. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Since April 1988, the PDRE ' s war mobilization has included a 
strong appeal to Ethiopian nationalism and traditional values, 
including religion, an integral part of the national culture. 
Government officials have indicated that religion is now being 
factored into aspects of national planning. After the death 
of the abuna, head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in June 
1988, the Prime Minister attended the funeral, which was given 
front page coverage in the daily newspaper. The Government 
carefully controlled the election of the new abuna apparently 
to ensure the election of someone who would be sympathetic to 
party policy. 

The positive aspect of the Government's new attitude toward 
religion is increased respect for freedom of worship and 
proselytism for the Orthodox Church and Islam (each claims 
about 50 percent of the Ethiopian population) as provided in 
the Constitution. 

Party members are officially prohibited from worshiping, but 
this ban is not enforced. According to press reports, kebele 
officials often discourage church attendance, generally by 
scheduling mandatory meetings on Sunday mornings. The 
Government nationalized most church property when it took 
power, and the Orthodox Church reportedly is dependent on 
annual government compensation payments to cover clergy 
salaries . 

Orthodox and Islamic holidays are recognized by the 
Government, and officials of both religions are allowed to 
exercise jurisdiction over civil matters such as marriage. 
However, the Government expunges reference to any deity from 
dialog in television programs and films and forbids such 
reference in government statements or publications. The State 
continues to monitor religious practice and any teaching which 
might be contrary to its political line. The Government also 
appoints officials to the Orthodox Church administration to 
ensure church conformity with party policies. 

Some other religions, particularly foreign Protestant 
evangelical organizations, which found their activities 
sharply curtailed after the 1974 revolution, have experienced 
a general trend of greater tolerance by central and local 
government officials over the last 2 years. Local government 
officials allowed a number of churches that had been closed to 
reopen. In 1986 a number of church officials were released 
from detention, including the general secretary of the 
Mennonite church (who had been detained since 1981) and 
leaders of the Ethiopian evangelical Mekane Yesus church. The 
Government issues permits to foreign missionaries to enter and 
work in Ethiopia in limited numbers, although ostensibly as 



115 



ETHIOPIA 

development specialists, not as missionaries. The Jehovah's 
Witnesses, however, remain totally banned. 

Ethiopia's small Jewish community (the Falashas) live in areas 
peripheral to insurgent activity in Tigre and Gondar. Stories 
of genocidal actions by Ethiopian authorities or of highly 
brutal behavior toward Ethiopian Jews have not been 
substantiated by American visitors to these areas. Although 
Jews do suffer some economic discrimination (a holdover from 
prerevolutionary practices), the PDRE has been increasingly 
tolerant of the Falashas. The Government permits development 
assistance directed at the Falasha areas, even when such 
assistance has included a religious element (i.e., 
construction of synagogues). 

Large numbers of Ethiopian Jews have surreptitiously left the 
country in recent years. Although the Government has 
attempted to block this exodus as part of its overall 
antiemigration policy (see Section l.d.), it did release about 
25 persons in 1988 who were under arrest for arranging the 
illegal emigration of Falashas. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Permission is required for Ethiopian citizens to change their 
place of residence, and persons considered politically suspect 
can be forbidden to travel outside their home areas. Travel 
within Ethiopia has remained restricted particularly in Tigre 
and Eritrea. In addition, the state of emergency has closed 
off a number of districts in the two provinces to any 
civilians; homeowners were given 15 days from the date of 
declaration of the state of emergency to evacuate specific 
areas with their personal belongings. The state of emergency 
decree granted the Administrator Generals of the two provinces 
broad powers to move any person or group from one place to 
another within the region or outside the region. 

Late in 1987, the Government resumed the internal resettlement 
program, pledging to carry it out voluntarily and announcing 
plans to resettle 300,000 people during the following year. 
By April 1988 about 10,000 had been resettled before the 
Government's preoccupation with the war effort in the north 
led to temporary suspension of the program. Preliminary 
reports had indicated that most of those being resettled had 
volunteered, had been humanely transported, and had arrived at 
well prepared sites. However, about 40 people were killed 
or wounded on February 8 at Korem when soldiers fired 
indiscriminately on a crowd of several thousand drought 
victims after they passively refused a local administrator's 
demands that they board trucks for resettlement. When the 
international community called for the Ethiopian Government to 
investigate the incident of forced resettlement at Korem, the 
Government refused, labeling the reports of the incident as 
lies . 

The Government's mandatory "villagization" campaign, which 
collects scattered rural farmers into newly created villages, 
continued in 1988. It is sanctioned under article 10, 
subarticle 3 of the Constitution, which states that "the state 
shall encourage the scattered rural population to aggregate in 
order to change their backward living conditions and to enable 
them to lead a better life." According to the Government, 
close to 12 million Ethiopians had been moved into such 
villages as of July 1, 1988 (31 percent of the rural 



116 



ETHIOPIA 

population) . The Government has announced plans that call for 
50 percent of the rural population to be moved into villages 
by 1993. 

Peasants cannot avoid participating in the program, and to 
date almost everyone living in areas scheduled for 
vil lagization has been moved into the new settlements. The 
program has proceeded in the Gondar region despite some 
scattered antigovernment violence in opposition to the program 
early in 1987. The Government has devoted few resources to 
this large program. Farmers must dismantle their own houses, 
transport them to the government-selected village site, and 
reassemble them. Social services such as schools, new roads, 
or clinics--though promised--are rare. The Government has 
repeatedly stated that this program is a precursor to 
collectivization of Ethiopia's agriculture. Despite this 
goal, over 90 percent of agriculture is still on an individual 
family basis. 

The continued conflict in those Ethiopian provinces most 
affected by drought and famine has increasingly led both the 
Government and the rebels to utilize distribution of relief 
aid as a weapon. An October 1987 attack by insurgent forces 
on an unarmed and unescorted U.N. famine relief column, 
destroyed 23 trucks and 400 tons of wheat. In January EPLF 
forces attacked an unarmed and an unescorted commercial 
convoy, destroying 17 trucks and 176 tons of food. In April 
the Government expelled all expatriate relief workers in Tigre 
and Eritrea, disrupting the relief distribution effort in 
government-controlled areas and prohibiting food deliveries to 
extensive areas of two drought-stricken provinces contested by 
insurgent forces. The Government's action thus denied food to 
more than a million of the 2 to 3 million Ethiopians 
previously being targeted by international relief efforts. In 
May United Nations personnel were allowed to reestablish a 
limited presence. Later in 1988, additional personnel from 
the U.N. and nongovernmental relief organizations were allowed 
to monitor relief distribution in some parts of the north. 

Travel abroad by Ethiopians is closely controlled by the 
Government through the issuance of passports and mandatory 
exit visas. Passport applications require a letter of 
recommendation from the appropriate kebele head. Foreigners 
in Ethiopia have always been required to obtain a travel 
permit for internal travel. The Government prohibits all 
foreign access to areas of conflict, especially in Tigre. In 
mid-1988, the Government often denied requests for permission 
of U.S. Embassy personnel to travel in nonconflict areas but 
later in 1988 approved all requests. 

Emigration is highly restricted, except in special 
circumstances such as marriage to or adoption by a foreign 
national. Leaving Ethiopia without authorization is a serious 
offense punishable by 5 to 15 years' imprisonment or, in 
exceptional cases, reportedly by death. Nonetheless, 
considerable illegal emigration occurs either under the 
subterfuge of travel abroad for business or to visit 
relatives, or by arduous treks overland and surreptitious 
crossing of borders. 

The Government recognizes the right of voluntary repatriation, 
and its proclamation of mass amnesty for Ethiopians living 
abroad (numbering more than 1 million) remains in effect. 
Since December 1986, according to figures provided by the 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) , 



117 



ETHIOPIA 

approximately 25,000 Ethiopians spontaneously returned to 
Ethiopia from Sudan. In addition, UNHCR repatriation programs 
have successfully repatriated 3,591 Ethiopians from Djibouti 
since late 1986 and approximately 5,579 Ethiopians from 
Somalia during the same period. These official and 
spontaneous returnees were aided by the UNHCR. There are no 
reports that the returnees were mistreated or discriminated 
against upon their return. Also, it is thought, though not 
confirmed, that many Ethiopian refugees in northern Somalia 
may have returned to Ethiopia in an effort to flee civil 
strife. 

Instability in neighboring countries has stimulated a large- 
scale refugee movement into Ethiopia with more than 750,000 
entering the country--over 350,000 from Sudan and 400,000 from 
Somalia. The Government's limitations on access to refugee 
camps by much of the international community have made it 
difficult to ensure that the refugees receive relief 
assistance and adequate protection under the Geneva 
Convention. There have been no reports of the Government 
forcibly repatriating refugees. However, the Government has 
periodically harrassed Sudanese refugees and "people of 
concern" to the UNHCR. For example, in October Ethiopian 
security forces detained a Sudanese refugee shortly before his 
planned voluntary repatriation to Sudan. He was held several 
days before being released and allowed to return to Sudan. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens of Ethiopia are not free to change the Government. 
The new Constitution institutionalizes all power in the 
Workers Party of Ethiopia (WPE) , the President, his advisors, 
and the 23-member Council of State. Political and economic 
policies are still dictated to the population with little 
opportunity for public debate. 

The WPE and its mass organizations purport to offer Ethiopian 
citizens a means of participation in government, but their 
real role is to ensure adherence to Marxist-Leninist 
principles. The WPE, like its Soviet counterpart, is an 
exclusive group--not everyone can join. Higher level 
government officials are required to join if they wish to keep 
their jobs. Kebeles, the primary party/government control 
mechanisms at the local level, control housing allocation, 
basic food rationing, political indoctrination, and 
implementation of other government policies, such as 
registration and selection of youths for national military 
service. 

To give a semblance of democracy to the newly organized 
administration, the Government sponsored a referendum in 1987 
to approve the new Constitution and an election in the same 
year to choose the members of the 835-member National Shengo 
(one chamber Parliament) from slates of candidates approved by 
the WPE. Until now the Shengo has proved to be little more 
than a Government showpiece. It meets only once a year, and 
its first session in July included a series of unanimous "yes" 
votes and the post facto "adoption" of various measures 
previously approved by the Council of State. Shengo elections 
are to be held every 5 years. 

The new Constitution mandates the formation of local Shengos 
in the 25 newly established administrative regions and the 5 
autonomous zones. Under the autonomy plan, the Assembly of 



118 



ETHIOPIA 

the Eritrean autonomous zone is to have the exclusive right to 
promulgate and enforce its own laws so long as they do not 
conflict with national laws. The Assemblies of the other 
autonomous zones (Assab, Tigre, Dire Dawa, and Ogaden) would 
require permission from the central Government in order to 
formulate their own laws. The Constitution also lists a 
number of responsibilities reserved for the regional 
assemblies and their executive committees, including the 
preparation of social and economic plans and budgets for 
approval by the national Shengo. The PDRE hopes the autonomy 
plan will serve as a basis for a political solution to the 
various internal insurgencies, but its implementation still 
has not really begun. 

Women are poorly represented at the top echelons of 
Government. There are 46 female members in the 835-member 
Shengo, and there are no female ministers or members in the 
Council of State. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government resists attempts by international and 
nongovernmental organizations to investigate human rights 
cases. It did not respond, for example, to Amnesty 
International's various inquiries in 1985, such as on the 
reported use of torture, or to its more recent appeals to 
respect major international human rights agreements. There is 
no governmental or private body to investigate alleged human 
rights violations. Ethiopia is not a signatory to any of the 
United Nations human rights documents or the African Charter 
of Human and Peoples' Rights. However, Ethiopia is a newly 
selected African representative to the U.N. Commission on 
Human Rights. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The Constitution provides for the equality of all Ethiopians 
irrespective of nationality, sex, religion, occupation, social 
or other status. The highest government echelons are no 
longer dominated by the Amhara ethnic group but include many 
Oromos and a few Eritreans and Tigreans. Almost all senior 
government and political figures are of Christian origin, 
although the population is approximately 50 percent Muslim. 

While the rights of women are protected and promised 
additional government support by the Constitution, sex 
discrimination persists. Various U.N. studies indicate 
Ethiopian women are subject to many disadvantages such as 
cultural and traditional biases, marriages imposed at a very 
young age, hard and time-consuming labor, inadequate 
employment opportunities, and subaverage wages in urban 
areas. Village leadership is invariably male, and all clergy 
are male. However, women in the principal Ethiopian cultures 
(Oromo, Amhara, Eritrean, and Tigrean) enjoy certain economic 
rights equal to those of men. They may inherit, sell, or buy 
property and engage in business. In some rural areas, women 
have a subservient status within the home, and child marriages 
remain common, despite opposition by the Government. 
Long-established practices, such as female circumcision, 
remain prevalent among Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslim families 
despite government opposition. The Revolutionary Women's 



119 



ETHIOPIA 

Association, a mass organization created in 1980, has the 
proclaimed goal of improving the status of women. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The only labor organization allowed to operate is the 
government-controlled Ethiopian Trade Union (ETU) . The ETU, 
one of Ethiopia's mass organizations under the party's 
control, is a political group used by the Government to 
implement its policies, expand party control within the work 
place, and prevent work stoppages. Strikes and slowdowns are 
forbidden. Many of ETU's top leaders have been trained in 
Eastern Europe, and the organization has close ties to Soviet 
and Eastern European labor organizations. The 1988 Report of 
the International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of 
Experts repeated its criticisms of the mandatory, single trade 
union structure in Ethiopia and renewed its request that 
freedom of association be granted to rural workers. The 
Committee noted the Government's assertion that, pursuant to 
the Constitution of 1987, a new labor code will be submitted 
to the National Shengo which will reflect the right of workers 
and employers to establish and join organizations without 
previous authorization, and which will take into account the 
Committee's comments, with particular reference to those 
concerning restrictions on the right to strike. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Workers are not permitted to organize independently in 
Ethiopia. Labor/management negotiations do not occur in 
practice, although labor law does provide for it. Collective 
bargaining as such does not exist. Labor laws and practices 
are uniform throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There is no information that forced labor is practiced in 
Ethiopia. However, on the demand of the kebele officials, 
citizens are required to "volunteer" their services for 
frequent community work programs. Workers are also expected 
to "volunteer" to work extra hours and weekends, at no pay, so 
that factory quotas can be met. The proclamation of the state 
of emergency in May was linked to a proclamation requiring 
that all employees donate 1 month of their salary to the war 
effort. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age of 14 for nonfarm labor seems to be respected 
in practice. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The new Constitution recognizes in principle the right to work 
and to rest. Given high unemployment, there is pressure for 
existing jobs in the modern economy. The maximum legal 
workweek of 48 hours is generally respected in practice, but 
as noted there is much "volunteer" labor to meet factory or 
office quotas, and government workers receive little of their 
promised time off. Health and safety codes for the workplace 
are rudimentary and remain unenforced. 



90-641 - 89 



120 



ETHIOPIA 

The minimum wage in Ethiopia is about $24 per month. 
Additional allowances effectively raise the minimum wage of a 
full-time employee to about $34. Day laborers in the 
agricultural sector receive almost $1 per day plus some 
payment in kind (shelter or a meal, for example). Day 
laborers in the urban areas receive almost $1.50 per day plus 
transportation to and from the workplace. The minimum wage 
has been under review for some time without decision. It is 
not sufficient to provide a decent standard of living, and 
employees paid at these minimum rates must supplement their 
income such as through help from the extended family, or 
through subsistence farming. 



121 



GABON 



Gabon is ruled by President Omar Bongo, the head of Gabon's 
sole political party. The Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG) . 
Bongo has been reelected three times in uncontested elections, 
most recently in November 1986. The Constitution was amended 
in 1983 to provide that only the President-Founder of the 
party (President Bongo) may be the candidate for the 
presidency. In practice, presidential power is somewhat 
limited by a complex governmental structure, which includes a 
46-member Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. A 120-member 
National Assembly has no real power. All major ethnic groups 
and regions are represented in the Government, Political 
Bureau, and Central Committee of the party. 

The armed forces comprise approximately 4,000 army, navy, and 
air force personnel. Internal security is shared by the 
Gendarmerie, a paramilitary force of 2,700, and the National 
Police, consisting of 2,000 troops, which works with the 
Gendarmerie to maintain law and order in Libreville, Port 
Gentil, and other provincial capitals. Uncontrolled 
immigration is of particular concern. Security forces monitor 
the presence and activities of tens of thousands of illegal 
aliens, and sometimes, as in June 1988, conduct campaigns to 
find and deport them. 

Gabon's relatively high per capita income ($2,750 in 1987) is 
based on oil revenues, but it belies the underdeveloped nature 
of the country and its economy. Although endowed with oil, 
manganese, uranium deposits, and vast timber resources, Gabon 
has little developed agriculture and industry and must import 
most of its food and manufactured goods. Jungle covers 85 
percent of the country, and approximately two-thirds of the 
populace lives in isolation. But the TransGabon railroad, 
completed in 1986, now connects the coastal capital of 
Libreville to Franceville in the southeast interior. The 
Government has imposed austerity measures to meet World Bank 
and International Monetary Fund program criteria, due to the 
precipitous fall in revenue from oil exports. A massive 
onshore oil field has been discovered in southern Gabon and 
should boost petroleum output by 50 percent by 1990. 

Gabon maintained tight restrictions on political and civil 
liberties in 1988, but there were no known political detainees 
or prisoners at the end of the year. In June the Gendarmerie 
rounded up almost 3,500 undocumented Equatorial Guineans. 
There were unconfirmed allegations of deaths at that time of 
persons held in custody by the security forces. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no known political killings or summary executions 
in 1988. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known cases of abductions or disappearances 
ascribed to government security forces or any other group. 



122 



GABON 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Gabonese security and law enforcement officials use beatings 
as part of the interrogation process. 

Prison conditions are harsh. Amnesty International's (AI) 
1988 report notes there were reports in 1987 that a number of 
criminal suspects and alleged illegal aliens had been beaten 
and tortured at Central Prison in Libreville. Central Prison 
is described as having poor hygiene, inadequate medical 
facilities, and insufficient food. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Gabonese law protects against arbitrary detention according to 
clearly articulated judicial procedures (in the French 
tradition) which are usually observed. 

In security cases, however, the Government can detain persons 
indefinitely without charge. The Constitution specifies that 
"acts against the security of the State" and "actions against 
the Chief of State," which can include advocating a multiparty 
system, are punishable crimes. There were, however, no known 
political detainees or prisoners being held at the end of the 
year . 

Exile is not used as a means of political control nor as a 
sentence for a convicted criminal. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The regular court system, modeled on the French system, has 
several levels: the Trial Court (Tribunal de Premier 
Instance) hears questions of fact and law in civil, 
commercial, social, criminal and administrative cases; the 
appellate level is divided into two courts, with a separate 
appeals court for criminal cases; and the highest level, the- 
Supreme Court, has four chambers. Outside of the normal court 
system, there is a military tribunal to handle all offenses 
under military law, a State Security Court, and a special 
criminal court which deals with fraud and embezzlement of 
public funds by officials. The right to a fair public trial 
is provided for in the Constitution and generally has been 
respected in criminal cases. However, court officials are 
appointed by the President, who can also transfer and dismiss 
them by decree, and the judiciary is susceptible to 
intervention by the executive, particularly in political or 
security cases. 

In 1988, on New Year's Day and on the 20th anniversary of the 
ruling PDG, President Bongo commuted the sentences of first 
offenders who were not convicted of first degree murder or 
armed robbery. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Government periodically monitors communications. Search 
warrants may be obtained after the fact or, as in the case of 
the Equatorial Guineans who were detained in June, not at 
all. There were credible reports that in many cases the homes 
of those detained were ransacked by security forces who 
confiscated personal effects. Membership in the ruling PDG is 



123 



GABON 

not mandatory, and Gabonese citizens' livelihoods are not 
compromised by failure to join the party. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

These freedoms are restricted. Neither direct public 
criticism of the President nor advocacy of a multiparty 
political system is permitted. Individual Gabonese citizens 
with access to the President can express their views, 
including criticisms, directly to him in private meetings 
without fear of retribution. Public media~-radio, television, 
and the sole daily newspaper L'Union--are controlled by the 
Ministry of Information and disseminate government views and 
communiques. The media carry copious wire service material 
(mostly Agence France Presse) which gives the public some 
coverage of world events. The President encourages journalists 
to point out failures of individual government officials or 
ministries and to highlight inefficiency and corruption. 
Foreign books and magazines containing "scurrilous" material 
have been banned in the past; but this has not occurred in 
recent years. 

Academic freedom is permitted as long as it does not entail 
public criticism of the President or of the political system. 
There were reports in 1988 that professors had considered (but 
never implemented) protest action against cuts in their 
allowances . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Government limits assembly and association to recognized 
organizations. Permits and police notification are required 
for all outdoor meetings. The Government generally permits 
such meetings only if they are organized by the ruling party 
(and its ancillary units such as the womens ' , youth, and labor 
movements), cultural and entertainment impresarios, and 
recognized church groups. Demonstrations are not permitted. 
Students at Libreville's Omar Bongo University went on strike 
in late April to protest the serving of contaminated food in 
the university cafeteria. The nonviolent protest and 
occupation of the university were defused when President Bongo 
met with student leaders at the palace and funded hotel-catered 
meals until new management could take over the cafeteria. 

International service organizations, such as Rotary and Lions 
Clubs, are active in Gabon. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no state religion, and the Constitution provides for 
religious freedom. Because their activities were considered 
by the Government as fostering disunity, Jehovah's Witnesses 
and several small syncretistic sects were banned by 
presidential decree in 1970. The decree was reiterated in 
1985. As recently as 1987, the courts sentenced 24 Jehovah's 
Witnesses to short or suspended terms for belonging to a 
banned organization. 

Catholic and Protestant churches are the primary organized 
faiths; there are a few Muslims (including President Bongo) 



124 



GABON 

and numerous adherents to traditional religions. Foreign 
missionaries, including Americans, are engaged actively in 
evangelical and administrative capacities. To head off a 
schism caused by a leadership struggle within the important 
Protestant Evangelical Church of Gabon, President Bongo set up 
a high-level commission headed by the First Vice Prime 
Minister (himself an evangelical) to harmonize the differences 
between the two factions. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Movement of both Gabonese citizens and expatriates within the 
country is not restricted formally, but travelers occasionally 
encounter gendarmerie control points where identity cards and 
other documents are examined. While Gabonese citizens may 
return freely to Gabon from abroad, they must obtain exit 
permits from the police, and government employees must obtain 
permission to travel abroad. 

There are approximately 200,000 non-Gabonese resident in 
Gabon, many of whom are from Equatorial Guinea or Cameroon. 
Immigration laws and presidential decrees promulgated in 1986 
imposed heavy monetary guarantee requirements on non-French 
and non-American expatriates working in Gabon and levied exit 
visa fees for each departure from the country. In June the 
Gendarmerie detained approximately 3,500 undocumented 
Equatorial Guineans over a 3-day period. They were placed in 
a holding camp under harsh conditions, and, according to 
unconfirmed reports, several allegedly died in custody. Most 
of the detainees were released after paying fines and bribes, 
but at the end of June over 200 Equatorial Guineans still were 
incarcerated. A few relatives of documented refugees were 
detained but quickly released, and U.N. officials subsequently 
began issuing indentif ication documents to all members of 
refugee families. In July the Government of Equatorial Guinea 
arranged for the voluntary repatriation from Gabon of about 
1,500 of its citizens. President Bongo accepted on a 
temporary basis 12 Iranians and 3 Turks (Kurds) expelled from 
France in December 1987 and arranged for their voluntary 
repatriation 1 month later to Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, 
and France. 

The Government encourages " regroupment"--the voluntary 
consolidation of small rural communities into larger villages 
along a road--by enhancing the delivery of public services 
such as water, electricity, and schooling in the larger 
villages . 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The present political system does not accord citizens the 
right to change their government through the electoral 
process. The Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG) is the sole 
political party of Gabon. A party constitution amendment 
(March 1983) restricts candidacy for presidential elections to 
the Founder-President of the PDG. Among party members, there 
is competition for elections to the National Assembly and for 
positions on the Central Committee; but this maneuvering is 
within the party--no other political parties are permitted. 
Presidential elections are held during the 7th year of the 
President's term; National Assembly members are elected for 5 
years. The Council of Ministers, which meets under the 
chairmanship of the President or, occasionally, the Prime 



125 



GABON 

Minister, approves all government decisions proposed by the 
President. The 46-member Cabinet (reshuffled slightly in 
October) includes representatives of major ethnic groups from 
all regions of the country. This large Cabinet allows the 
various interest groups to have a review role in policy 
formulation, a share in political patronage, and a 
consultative role on national resource distribution. 

Women play a secondary role in political life. Gabon's 
Cabinet includes 1 woman at full ministerial rank (Minister of 
Justice) and 4 secretaries of state; 5 women are members of 
the Political Bureau of the party; and 17 women are delegates 
in the National Assembly. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Although Gabon has not been the object of such investigations 
in recent years. President Bongo in the past has invited 
representatives of AI and other human rights organizations to 
visit Gabon. There are no local human rights groups. In the 
cabinet reshuffle of January 1987, responsibility for human 
rights questions was given to the Secretary of State for 
Promotion of Women. 

A Gabonese state counselor was elected in November 1987 as the 
first chairman of the Organization of African Unity's new 
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. The third 
session of the Commission met in Libreville April 18-28, 1988. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Gabon's relative prosperity has enabled the Government to 
extend health and social security benefits to all its people, 
regardless of tribal affiliation or region. Recent 
difficulties in maintaining these benefits have been due to 
severe budget cutbacks rather than to discriminatory practices. 

Women increasingly are moving into the professions due to 
educational opportunities, including in technical training 
institutions in the urban areas. Government and party 
policies are supportive. But in rural Gabon women still fill 
largely traditional roles built around family and village, 
e.g., hauling water, tending fields. The gradual introduction 
of piped-in water and electricity has had the effect of 
improving living standards for rural women. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Labor unions may organize, but must be affiliated with the 
government-sponsored Labor Confederation of Gabon (COSYGA) , 
which is a specialized organ of the PDG and the sole labor 
federation. It is estimated that over half of Gabon's 90,000 
salaried private sector workers are unionized. 

Under Gabonese law, the right to strike continues to be 
seriously restricted; strikes are illegal if they occur before 
remedies prescribed under the Labor Code (1978) have been 
exhausted. In November and December, utilities workers in 
Gabon's oil capital of Port Gentil staged several work 
stoppages to protest government-ordered cuts in salaries and 



126 



GABON 

personnel at the state-owned utilities company. Also, in 
December Air Gabon employees struck to protest elimination of 
their Christmas bonus. These incidents were resolved 
peaceably. 

Government employees are not permitted to belong to unions. 
COSYGA is a member of the Organization of African Trade Union 
Unity and maintains ties with the American Federation of Labor 
and Congress of Industrial Organizations. It participates in 
meetings of the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions in each sector negotiate with management over specific 
pay scales, working conditions, and benefits applicable to 
their industry. Representatives of labor, management, and 
government meet annually to agree on the minimum wage, which 
is determined within guidelines provided by the Government. 
Agreements reached between labor and management in each sector 
also apply to nonunion and expatriate labor. According to the 
Labor Code, workers may individually or collectively take 
complaints of code violations to arbitration and may appeal to 
labor and national courts. These provisions are respected in 
practice. Labor legislation is applied uniformly throughout 
the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced labor is prohibited by law, except that the ILO 
Committee of Experts has for many years noted that provisions 
of the Merchant Shipping Code are incompatible with ILO 
Conventions on forced labor. The Government has reiterated 
that it is in the process of amending the Code. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment o" Children 

No minor below the age of 16 may work without the 
authorization of the Ministries of Labor, Public Health, and 
Education. It is granted rarely, and few employees in the 
modern wage sector are below the age of 18. Children are 
involved in traditional, family farm labor in the rural areas. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The Labor Code (1978) and the General Convention of Labor 
(1982) govern working conditions and benefits for all 
sectors. Labor legislation provides broad protection to 
workers. The :. Lnimum wage for unskilled labor since April 
1985 has been about $200 per month for Gabonese and about $150 
for foreigners. Owing to labor shortages, most salaries are 
much higher. These wages provide a decent living for workers 
and their families. Work over 40 hours per week must be 
compensated with overtime, and the workweek must include a 
minimum rest of 48 consecutive hours. Pregnant women have a 
right to 14 weeks of leave during pregnancy, including 6 weeks 
before delivery. The Labor Code provides for occupational 
health and safety standards to be established by decree 'f the 
Minister of Health. These standards are enforced by the 
Government. There has beer little unemployment f ^ r '^abonere 
wishing to enter the wage economy, although it is increasi n.j 
as the economy reacts to the drop in world oi ■" ".rices. 



127 



THE GAMBIA 



The Gambia, a small country on the West African Coast, is a 
parliamentary democracy with an elected president and 
legislature. Until a bloody coup attempt in July 1981, The 
Gambia had a history of political stability under the 
leadership of its only President since independence in 1965, 
Sir Dawda Jawara. His ruling People's Progressive Party (PPP) 
has dominated the Parliament, but several opposition parties 
participate in the political process, including two new 
political parties formed in 1986. In the parliamentary and 
presidential elections held in March 1987, President Jawara 
was reelected by a large margin, and PPP candidates won an 
overwhelming majority in the Parliament. While there were 
some allegations of fraud, none was substantiated, and the 
elections were judged by most observers to be free and fair. 

Discussions on the process of confederation with Senegal have 
slowed in recent years and in 1988 focused on defense and 
economic issues. The Gambia has a small army with an attached 
naval unit organized and trained by British officers. One 
company of the Gambian army has been integrated with 
Senegalese troops into a confederal battalion led by a 
Senegalese officer. The Gambia also has a gendarmerie of 
about 600 members, headed by a Senegalese. 

The Gambia's estimated population of 784,000 consists largely 
of subsistence farmers growing rice and groundnuts (peanuts), 
the country's primary export crop. The Gambia continued in 
1988 a stringent program of economic reform which met the 
targets agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund, the 
World Bank, and other donors. The program has allowed The 
Gambia to reschedule its debt and receive critical new loans. 

The Gambia continued its good human rights record during 
1988. A treason trial held from January to May against four 
persons accused of plotting to overthrow the Government was 
marked by extensive efforts by the judge to assure a fair 
trial, including medical testimony to evaluate torture 
allegations and vigorous cross-examination by the defense of 
all prosecution witnesses. Two of the accused received 
20-year sentences, one received a 5-year sentence, and the 
fourth was acquitted. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no instances of political killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The Constitution prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, 
and degrading punishment. However, during the widely 
publicized 1988 treason trial, allegations of torture were 
made by two of the accused. The prosecution admitted that the 
defendants had been denied access to all outside contacts from 



128 



THE GAMBIA 

the time of their arrest until their interrogation was 
completed. But after an investigation by the court, including 
medical examinations and testimony by a reputable doctor, the 
torture allegations were dismissed. Nonetheless, arresting 
officers are sometimes reported to be rough in their treatment 
of suspects during questioning. 

Prison conditions are severe, and there have been occasional 
reports of mistreatment of prisoners. The Government 
expressly disapproves of such practices. The recent deaths of 
several inmates due to an inadequate diet at one prison led to 
a presidential visit and the creation of a commission to study 
prison conditions. The Commission had not completed its 
report by the end of 1988. The Government allows prison 
visits by representatives of the local Red Cross and by close 
family members. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Based on British legal practice, well-developed constitutional 
and legal procedures govern the arrest, detention, and trial 
of persons accused of crimes. Under these procedures, a 
detained person must be brought to trial within 1 week of 
arrest. This waiting period, however, can be extended twice, 
making 21 days the maximum period of detention before trial. 

Amnesty International's 1988 report notes that the Goverment 
in 1987 detained several suspected members of the Movement for 
Justice in Africa, which was banned by the Government in 
1980. These suspects were later released and were never 
charged. There are some self-exiled opposition elements who 
would be arrested for suspected involvement in the 1981 coup 
attempt if they returned to the Gambia. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Three kinds of law operate in The Gambia: general, Shari'a, 
and customary law. Shari'a, governing Muslims, is observed in 
marriage and divorce proceedings. Customary law covers 
marriage and divorce for non-Muslims, inheritance, land tenure 
and utilization, local tribal government, and all other 
traditional civil and social relations. General law, based on 
English statutes and modified to suit the Gambian context, 
governs criminal cases and trials and most organized business 
practices. If there were a conflict between general law and 
Shari'a, general law would prevail. 

The Constitution provides criminal defendants with the 
traditional rights of the English legal system, such as 
presumption of innocence, the right of the accused to be 
informed promptly of the charges, and the right to a public 
trial. If released on bail, an accused person may face 
charges indefinitely, since there apparently is no maximum 
time limit for completing the investigation and bringing the 
case to trial. Appeals normally proceed from the Supreme 
(trial) Court to the Court of Appeals, the country's highest 
tribunal . 

While the judiciary operates independently and is free of 
government interference, judges are appointed by the 
Government. Because of the shortage of legal professionals in 
The Gambia, the legal system is staffed in part by judges and 



129 



THE GAMBIA 

prosecuting and defense attorneys from other English-speaking 
countries having the same basic legal system as The Gambia. 

Authorities arrested 20 persons in January for allegedly 
plotting to overthrow the Government. Most were soon released 
on bail. Subsequently, four persons were accused of treason 
and tried. The defense was vigorous, and included the 
cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, the presentation 
of defense testimony and evidence, and a challenge to the 
admission of statements given by the defendants to the 
police. The latter challenge was based on allegations that 
the statements had been coerced by the use of torture. Both 
sides presented evidence concerning these allegations, and the 
judge ruled that torture had not been proven. After over 3 
months of testimony, the trial judge found three of the 
defendants guilty and one not guilty. Two of those convicted 
were sentenced to 20 years, the third to 5 years. 

Currently there are no known political prisoners in The 
Gambia, and no prisoners are awaiting death sentences. 
Fifty-nine persons, serving sentences for crimes committed in 
connection with the 1981 coup attempt, remain in prison. All 
of those sentenced to death after that coup attempt have had 
their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Constitution provides guarantees, which are respected in 
practice, against arbitrary search of person and property. 
The Constitution permits searches to which a suspect submits 
voluntarily or a mandatory search if it is reasonably required 
in the interest of national defense or public welfare. Under 
the criminal code, search warrants based on probable cause are 
issued by magistrates upon application by the police. There 
are a few police and military checkpoints in and around 
Banjul, which periodically stop drivers and search vehicles. 

The rights of family are of extreme importance in The Gambia's 
conservative Muslim society. Marriage, the raising of 
children, and religious instruction are regulated by a 
combination of personal preference and ethnic and religious 
tradition. The Government does not normally intrude in family 
matters. Family planning is encouraged but not enforced. 
There is no effort to censor or control personal correspondence 
or communications. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press. 
The opposition parties have not been particularly active since 
the 1987 elections, but members freely express their opinions 
about the Government and ruling party. 

The Government does not attempt to censor published materials, 
whether they originate within or outside the country. In 
practical terms. The Gambia, with its small, mainly rural, 
largely illiterate, multilingual population, does not support 
an active press. There are no daily newspapers. The 
Government and the People's Progressive Party have newspapers 
which are published on a biweekly or monthly basis. There are 
several independent, intermittently published, mimeographed 
newssheets. Both the opposition and the independent press are 



130 



THE GAMBIA 

openly critical of the Government. A biweekly mimeographed 
paper, sponsored by a legal Socialist party, has been 
particularly vocal in condemning the governing party. 
There is, however, some degree of self -censorship in the 
government-owned media, which exercises restraint in reporting 
criticism of the Government. There is no television in The 
Gambia, although Senegalese broadcasts can be received. The 
Government dominates the media through Radio Gambia. There 
have been no reported instances of government interference 
with the one commercial radio station, which mainly broadcasts 
music. Foreign magazines and newspapers are available in the 
capital. There is no university in The Gambia. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

In general, there is no interference with the freedom of 
association and assembly, which is provided for in the 
Constitution. The Government almost always grants permits for 
meetings but requires that these meetings be open to the 
public. However, the Movement for Justice in Africa, which 
was implicated in the 1981 coup attempt, is banned. For a 
discussion of freedom of association as it applies to labor 
unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The constitutional provisions of freedom of conscience, 
thought, and religion are observed in practice. The State is 
secular, although Muslims constitute over 90 percent of the 
population. The schools provide instruction in the Koran for 
Muslim students. Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, 
freely practice their religion. There is a small Baha ' i 
community in Banjul. Missionaries are permitted to carry on 
their various mission-related activities openly and freely. 
There is no evidence of discrimination in employment, 
education, or in other areas of Gambian life on religious 
grounds . 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Constitution provides for freedom of movement, subject to 
conditions protecting public safety, health, and morals. 
There is no restriction on freedom of emigration or freedom of 
return. Internally, police and military checkpoints exist in 
and around Banjul, but there is no evidence that police harass 
travelers. Because of historic and ethnic ties with the 
inhabitants of Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Sierra Leone, and 
Mauritania, people tend to move freely across borders, which 
are poorly marked and difficult to police. Under the 
Confederation Treaty of 1981, neither Gambians nor Senegalese 
need passports or visas to travel to or reside in the other 
country. The Gambia also recognizes the Economic Community of 
West African States' (ECOWAS) protocol which allows entry of 
ECOWAS country citizens up to 90 days without visas. 

Refugees fleeing persecution or unrest in other countries are 
not numerous in The Gambia, but the Government and people have 
a reputation for tolerance. There have been no reported cases 
of refugees being forcibly deported. 



131 



THE GAMBIA 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The President and the Members of Parliament are popularly- 
elected, as are the district councils and the chiefs, who 
exercise traditional authority in the villages and compounds. 
Presidential and parliamentary elections are held every 5 
years. Citizens must be at least 18 years of age to vote. 
Balloting is secret, and measures are employed to assure that 
illiterate voters understand the choices and voting 
procedure. A functioning multiparty system exists in The 
Gambia even though the People's Progressive Party under the 
leadership of President Jawara has been in power since 
independence. The principal opposition party, the National 
Convention Party (NCP) , contests both national and district 
elections. Two newly formed opposition parties. The Gambia 
People's Party (GPP) and the People's Democratic Organization 
for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) , contested for office 
in the March 1987 presidential and parliamentary elections. 
Campaigning was vigorous, active, and open to all parties. 
The ruling PPP won by an overwhelming majority and now holds 
31 of 36 elective seats in the Parliament. The NCP was the 
only opposition party to win seats. The opposition charged 
that the election was manipulated by the Government but did 
not provide evidence to support its allegations. The 
opposition also charged, with some justification, that the PPP 
benefited from its control of Radio Gambia and access to 
government vehicles for campaigning. 

Women participate actively in party and electoral politics. 
However, only one woman is an elected member of Parliament 
while three others, including the Minister of Health, were 
appointed by the President. The parliamentary secretary in 
the President's Office is a woman. In addition, there are 
women in prominent positions in the civil service as 
department heads and undersecretaries. There is a women's 
bureau in the Office of the President which actively promotes 
debate on women's issues. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government is responsive to charges of human rights 
violations and permits visits of international human rights 
organizations to observe the conditions of detainees and the 
trial process. There were no reported requests by such 
organizations for investigation of alleged human rights abuses 
in The Gambia during 1988. The Gambia is an active member of 
the United Nations Human Rights Commission and of the 
Organization of African Unity's (OAU) Commission on Human and 
Peoples' Rights. It took the initiative in persuading the OAU 
to locate the Commission in Banjul. The Government has also 
proposed the creation of a quasi-governmental African Center 
for Democracy and Human Rights Studies to be located in Banjul. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The Gambian population is overwhelmingly Muslim and rural, 
with 85 percent living in villages. While personal initiative 
and choice are valued, there is considerable emphasis on the 
collective aspects of rights and privileges. Traditional 
views, especially about the role of women in society, are 
changing, but very slowly. Marriages are still often 



132 



THE GAMBIA 

arranged, and Muslim tradition allows for polygamy. In 
villages the women continue to perform work in the field and 
provide for the majority of local food production. Women also 
play an important role in the small, modern wage sector of the 
economy. Most are in semiskilled jobs (e.g., assembly work, 
handicraft shops, bus conductors), very few are in skilled 
trades (e.g., carpentry, auto repair), and a small but growing 
number are in midlevel supervisory positions (e.g., civil 
service, tourist hotels, and banks). There is no wage or 
benefits discrimination for jobs that are performed both by 
men and women. Females comprise over one-third of the 
students in primary school, and, with growing educational 
opportunities, women participate increasingly in the 
professions and in political life. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The Labor Administration Act specifies that workers are free 
to form associations. However, less than 20 percent of the 
work force is engaged in the modern wage sector of the 
economy, where unions normally are active. The Labor 
Administration Act authorizes strikes. However, because of a 
required 14-day cooling off period (21 days in essential 
services), government conciliation efforts, and the poor 
bargaining strength of the unions, few strikes actually occur. 

The Gambian Workers' Confederation (GWC) and the Gambian 
Workers Union (GWU) , the two main independent and competing 
umbrella organizations, are both recognized by the Government, 
with which they have a good working relationship. As a result 
of an incomplete merger effort, both organizations claim 
affiliation to the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions (ICFTU); however, the ICFTU continues to recognize the 
GWU as its affiliate. Both unions are affiliated with the 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity. In addition, there 
are two other Gambian labor confederations. The Gambian Labor 
Confederation, which is affiliated with the World Federation 
of Trade Unions, and the Gambian Trade Union Congress, which 
is affiliated with the World Confederation of Labor. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The Labor Administration Act also provides for collective 
bargaining. However, trade unions are small and fragmented 
and are a minor element in Gambian economic and political 
life. Over the last 2 years, for example, there has been no 
reported bargaining activity. 

Trade union rights are protected in law and practice. There 
is no export processing zone in The Gambia. Labor laws are 
applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There is no evidence of forced or compulsory labor in The 
Gambia . 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Because of the paucity of secondary school opportunities, most 
children complete their formal education by age 14 and 
informally enter the work force. In the small industrial 
sector of the economy, labor cards authorizing employment of 



133 



THE GAMBIA 

youth are generally not issued until they reach the age of 16 
and never below the age of 14. This control of child labor 
does not apply to customary chores on family farms. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum wages and hours of work are determined by the Joint 
Industrial Council, pursuant to the Labor Administration Act, 
which has representation from employees, employers, and 
government. These minimum wages do not provide for a decent 
standard of living. But most Gambians, because of the 
extended family system, do not live on one worker's earnings. 
And the actual compensation paid is higher than the minimum 
wage. For example, the minimum wage for an ordinary unskilled 
laborer is approximately $1.50 per day for a 10-hour day, but 
in fact such workers now receive about $2.15 per day. Under 
the Factory Act, the Minister of Labor is given authority to 
regulate factory health and safety, accident prevention, and 
dangerous trades and to appoint inspectors to ensure 
compliance. However, this system is less than fully 
satisfactory, owing to the shortage of inspectors. The 
Government announced in 1987 that it would submit to 
Parliament a new labor code to replace obsolete labor laws; 
and a new industrial injuries compensation act to replace the 
existing Workmen's Compensation Act. 



134 



GHANA 



Ghana is governed by the Provisional National Defense Council 
(PNDC) under the chairmanship of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John 
Rawlings, who seized power from an elected government on 
December 31, 1981, and abolished the Constitution, which has 
never been replaced. Under the Establishment Proclamation of 
January 11, 1982, the PNDC exercises "all powers of 
government." In practice, government policy is developed by 
Chairman Rawlings, assisted by a number of close advisers, 
both inside and outside the Government. In addition to 
Chairman Rawlings, the PNDC consists of eight members, of whom 
two are serving military officers and six are civilians. The 
executive consists of ministries headed by secretaries, most 
of whom are subordinate to a PNDC member responsible for that 
particular area of government. There is a quasi-political 
organization in the countrywide network of Committees for the 
Defense of the Revolution (CDR's), which are designed as a 
channel to transmit government policies to the citizens. 
There is no national legislature or lawmaking body. All 
national, regional, and many district officials are appointed 
by the PNDC. In December the Government held district-level 
elections for 56 newly created district assemblies; elections 
for the remaining 54 district assemblies were scheduled for 
early 1989. 

The several security organizations which exist in Ghana report 
to various departments of government, but all come under the 
control of the PNDC. Most security cases of a political 
nature are handled by the Bureau of National Investigation 
(BNI), which reports to the PNDC member responsible for 
security issues. 

Starting in 1983, the Government adopted an Economic Recovery 
Program (ERP) to redress a quarter century of economic 
mismanagement and political instability which caused Ghana to 
decline from one of Africa's most promising economies to near 
collapse. Conducted in concert with the International 
Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and a consultative group of 
bilateral donors, the recovery program has had a positive 
impact. The economy has grown annually since the inception of 
the ERP, and inflation, which rose in 1987 to 39 percent, was 
still far below the triple-digit figures of earlier years. 

There continue to be significant human rights problems in 
Ghana, with restrictions on basic rights such as freedom of 
speech, press, and assembly, and legal due process. The 
Rawlings regime has largely restored order following the 
18-month period of revolutionary excess in 1982 and 1983. 
However, there were two shooting incidents in May 1988 
involving members of the Civil Defense Organization (CDO) , a 
militia based at the regional and local level. The national 
CDO head was replaced because of these incidents and new 
measures were taken to bring the CDO's under control. 
Similarly, in April there were major changes in the leadership 
of the national CDR to instill discipline and strengthen 
organization. There were no known coup plots in 1988. 
Arbitrary arrest and detention were continuing problems, with 
instances of incarceration without formal charges during 
investigations sometimes lasting more than a year. 



135 



GHANA 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of politically motivated killings. 

b. Disappearance 

No politically motivated disappearances were reported in 1988. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There have been occasional credible allegations of torture and 
beatings in recent years. Consideration was given to restoring 
corporal punishment in 1988 for convicted petty offenders, 
e.g., pickpockets, as punishment in lieu of a prison sentence; 
however, no law was enacted to this effect. Prisons in Ghana 
are antiquated, and conditions are harsh. In the last 18 
months, one American citizen died of a heart attack and another 
of malaria while being held in the Ghanaian prison system. A 
third American stated that while in prison in 1988 he had been 
physically mistreated and threatened with a pistol. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Ghanaian security forces occasionally take persons into 
custody, with or without a warrant, and hold them 
incommunicado for extended periods of time. The number of 
such cases is not known, but the threat of such treatment 
serves as a deterrent to activities deemed unacceptable to the 
State. PNDC Law 4 (Preventive Custody Law of 1982) provides 
for indefinite detention without trial if the PNDC determines 
it is in the interest of national security. 

In routine criminal cases, arrests generally conform to the 
legal procedures set forth in the criminal code. This code 
requires that an arrested person be brought before a court 
within 48 hours to be charged. However, the court can refuse 
to release a detainee on bail and instead "remand" him without 
charges for an indefinite period of time, subject to weekly 
review as a case is investigated. Habeas corpus is limited by 
a 1984 law which prevents any court from inquiring into the 
grounds for the detention of any Ghanaian under PND'" Law 2 
(which set up the National Investigation Committee and gave 
the Committee the power to investigate virtually any 
allegation referred to it by the PNDC). 

Four persons arrested in 1987 for their activities in leftist 
organizations--the New Democratic Movement (NDM) or the Kwame 
Nkrumah Revolutionary Guards (KNRG) — remained under detention 
without charge at year's end. They are K. Adu-Amankwah, head 
of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) political department, and A. 
Akoto-Ampaw, former Secretary G-neral of the All-African 
Students Union, arrested May 18, 1987, for alleged seditious 
activities; and Kwame Karikari, University o; Chana lecturer, 
and K. "Orsino" Aryeetey, CDR activist, both arrested in mid- 
July 1987 under PNDC Law 4 (on preventive custody) . Others 
similarly arrested without charges in 1987 but released 
between December 1987 and May 1988 were Ralph Kugbo, John 
Ndebugre, Kwesi Pratt, Geoffrey Kumfo, and Yao Graham. 



136 



GHANA 

In 1988 Amnesty International appealed for the release of the 
four men still in custody, plus some of those released earlier 
in the year. The PNDC has denied appeals from various 
organizations including the TUC, the National Union of Ghanaian 
Students (NUGS) , and an informal group of university faculty 
members, citing national security considerations as 
justification. 

In recent years, a number of American citizens have been 
arrested and held without charge for lengthy periods without 
the U.S. Embassy being notified or provided access as 
stipulated in international conventions and a bilateral 
treaty. The Department of State issued a travel advisory in 
August 1988 warning American visitors of continuing problems 
with Ghanaian authorities over notification and access and 
advising them of their rights under international law. 

The Government does not practice forced exile. In 1988 the 
Government continued quietly to encourage Ghanaian exiles with 
valuable skills to return home, offering them the opportunity 
to return with amnesty. A limited number of officials of the 
former government who fled Ghana in the early years of the 
revolution have returned and resumed careers outside of 
politics, apparently without difficulties. Others have 
remained abroad, particularly in the United Kingdom and other 
parts of Europe, in order to conduct active opposition to the 
PNDC or out of fear of political persecution. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

There are two court systems in Ghana. In the regular 
"prerevolutionary" court system, traditional legal safeguards 
are based on British legal practice. Trials are public, and 
defendants have a right to be present, to be represented by an 
attorney, and to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. 

This system includes high courts, appeal courts, and a 
supreme court headed by a chief justice. Questions exist, 
however, about the independence of the regular courts. In 
April 1986, the PNDC summarily dismissed 16 judges, alleging 
that they were guilty of malfeasance. By this action, the 
PNDC put judges in the regular courts on notice that they 
serve at its sufferance. The independent Ghana Bar 
Association has urged the reestablishment of a judicial 
council to protect judges from arbitrary dismissal and 
preserve judicial independence. 

A separate public tribunals system was set up by the PNDC in 
1982 to bypass the regular court system and speed up the 
judicial process by deemphasizing legal "technicalities." 
This system includes the Office of Revenue Commissioners, the 
National Investigations Committee, the Special Military 
Tribunal, and the Public Tribunals Board, as well as the 
public tribunals themselves, which operate at the national and 
regional levels. Plans are under discussion to extend the 
public tribunal system to the district level as well. Most 
sensitive political cases and those involving security issues 
and capital punishment are heard by public tribunals. No 
appeals were permitted until 1985, when a National Appeals 
Tribunal was created. 

The public tribunals depend largely on judges with little or 
no legal experience, and they shortcut legal safeguards and 
due process to provide "rough and ready" justice. Presiding 



137 



GHANA 

judges are more often laymen than lawyers; there are no 
published guidelines concerning the admissibility of evidence; 
and conviction is by majority vote of the panel trying a 
case. Critics also contend that meaningful appeals are 
impossible because no adequate record is kept of initial 
hearings before tribunals. Judges on the appeals panel are 
drawn from the same pool of "lay judges" who hear initial 
cases. The members of the Ghana Bar Association, citing such 
shortcomings, have elected not to practice before the public 
tribunals. This means that in practice defendants may appear 
before the public tribunals with inadequate or no legal 
representation. In 1985 the Government approved the creation 
of a legal aid program, but it has been only marginally 
implemented. 

There are no reliable estimates of the number of political 
detainees and political prisoners in Ghana. There has been at 
least one published report, whose authority is uncertain, that 
there are 200 political prisoners in Ghana. The Government 
claims the actual number of political prisoners is small. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Citizens not engaged in activity objectionable to the 
Government are generally free from interference with regard to 
private conduct, although some critics characterize the local 
CDR ' s as "neighborhood watch committees." Monitoring of 
telephones and mail is presumed to occur, and forced entry 
into homes has been reported in connection with security 
investigations. The State supports family planning, but there 
is no interference with the right to marry or have children as 
one chooses. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Ghana has no constitution, and there are no guarantees of the 
freedoms of speech and the press. The PNDC Chairman has 
frequently encouraged people to speak out on local community 
concerns, though not on government policy. However, informers 
are said to exist, and some Ghanaians hesitate to speak frankly 
at public gatherings or attend certain functions. 

The Government owns the radio and television stations and the 
two principal daily newspapers. Reporting in government-owned 
media accentuates positive aspects of the revolution, but also 
covers selected instances of corruption and mismanagement in 
government agencies and state-owned enterprises. In general, 
media criticism of the revolution or of Chairman Rawlings and 
PNDC members, as well as of foreign and domestic policies, is 
not tolerated. Journalists are subject to discipline or 
dismissal by the Government for running articles deemed 
unacceptable, and the editor of the government-owned weekly 
The Mirror was dismissed in August. 

One or two of the few remaining privately owned newspapers 
have tried to be relatively bold in reporting selected 
issues. The Kumasi-based Pioneer, for example, has at times 
taken provocative positions, including a series of editorials 
and articles criticizing Ghana's foreign policy and the 
Economic Recovery Program (ERP) and calling for the 
resignation of the Finance Secretary. However, several 
privately owned newspapers have closed down in recent years. 



138 



GHANA 

and in December 1985 the Government banned publication of the 
Catholic Standard; it remained banned in 1988. A few foreign 
periodicals such as West Africa, Time, and Newsweek are sold 
freely in Accra and other major cities, and even issues 
critical of Ghana are allowed to circulate. Western 
journalists are now routinely accorded visas and press 
credentials as opposed to the practice of a few years ago. 

Academic freedom tends to be respected within the confines of 
the campus. The National Union of Ghanaian Students, one of 
the more vocal critics of the PNDC, is tolerated and allowed 
to organize and hold meetings. Several leftwing political 
organizations, including the June Fourth Movement and the New 
Democratic Movement (NDM) , were founded by faculty and 
students at the University of Ghana. The NDM is viewed with 
particularly deep suspicion by the PNDC. Just prior to 
examinations in May, university students demonstrated over 
campus issues and forced the closing of all three universities. 
The Government's reaction was notably mild, with no police or 
military action and no public threats of expulsion or 
retaliation against the ringleaders. Universities remained 
closed in December, and no official announcement was made as 
to when they might reopen. 

Critics have charged, and the PNDC Chairman has publicly 
admitted, that fear of government reaction has led to the 
creation of a "culture of silence" in Ghana. When Professor 
Adu Boahen, speaking in February on the "culture of silence" 
at the annual Danquah Lecture Series, openly criticized 
government policies and officials, he was subjected to 
blistering attacks in the media (while his views went 
unreported) and was the reported target of military 
harassment. On a different plane, the Government closed all 
video houses in September 1988 because of the allegedly 
corrupting effects on the morals of youth of many of the 
videotapes shown, and it created a censorship board to pass 
judgment on the content of videotapes. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Assocation 

There are no constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly 
and association, but individuals generally are free to join 
together formally or informally to promote benevolent or 
nonpolitical causes. Ghana has many private religious, 
social, and cultural organizations which are allowed to 
organize and gather with a minimum of legal or informal 
restrictions. Permits are required for public meetings or 
demonstrations, but these are routinely granted except when 
they have an overtly political purpose. 

Political parties are banned in Ghana, and meetings to 
organize such parties are prohibited. The Government barred 
persons with close ties to the old parties from running as 
candidates for election to the district assemblies. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no state-favored religion and no restriction on the 
exercise of religion. Organized religious groups may establish 
places of worship, train their clergy, and participate in 
charitable activities. Ghanaians are predominantly Christian, 
and many senior government officials are practicing members of 



139 



GHANA 

various Protestant sects or Roman Catholicism with no 
particular advantages or disadvantages attached to membership. 

The PNDC encourages religious communities to support its 
economic and social policies. It has been sensitive to church 
criticism of Ghana's human rights record, and in 1987 Chairman 
Rawlings renewed the charge that worldwide church and Christian 
organizations may be havens for foreign spy networks. Foreign 
missionary groups operate throughout the country with a 
minimum of formal restrictions, although some foreign 
missionaries find obtaining visas is becoming more difficult. 
Foreign evangelists have come under criticism. Religious 
groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, which advocate refusal 
to recognize Ghanaian symbols of authority, have been strongly 
criticized by the Government. In addition, some local 
congregations have been closed down by the Government because 
of excesses deemed offensive "to the morals of the average 
Ghanaian. " 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Ghanaians and foreigners are free to move throughout Ghana 
without special permission. Police checkpoints exist 
countrywide, allegedly for the prevention of smuggling, but 
are less obtrusive than in the 1982-84 period. Roadblocks and 
car searches are still a normal part of nighttime travel in 
Accra. 

As members of the Economic Community of West African States 
(ECOWAS) , Ghanaians may travel without visas for up to 90 days 
in member states. Ghanaians are generally free to exercise 
this right, and nationals of other member states are free to 
travel to Ghana. Ghanaians are also free to emigrate or to be 
repatriated from other countries. If a person is considered a 
security threat, special permission to travel outside Ghana 
must be obtained. 

There is no forced resettlement of populations. Unregistered 
refugees from the Sahelian drought in neighboring countries 
remain in Ghana, and efforts to settle these basically nomadic 
peoples have had only limited success. The Government launched 
"Operation Cowleg" in 1988, aimed at forcing alien herdsmen 
across the border by a certain deadline or suffer confiscation 
of their herds, which were blamed for damaging irrigation 
channels and denuding the land. The operation was claimed to 
be successful, although the problem may still persist. The 
Government has not established policies to deal with the 
roughly 150 refugees registered with the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees, but they do not constitute a 
significant problem. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Chairman Rawlings and the PNDC exercise total executive, 
legislative, judicial, and administrative power in Ghana. 
There is no procedure by which citizens can freely and 
peacefully change their laws, officials, or form of government. 
The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) was established in 
1984 to design new "democratic" structures which would 
establish the legitimacy of the PNDC. 

In December the first elections since 1979 were held in Ghana 
to establish district assemblies in four regions. Elections 



140 



GHANA 

for district assemblies in the remaining six regions were 
scheduled for January and February 1989. No plans have been 
announced for regional or national elections. All national 
and regional officials are appointed by the PNDC . 

Women are officially encouraged to play a greater role in the 
political and social development of Ghana, and several women 
hold prominent supporting positions in the PNDC. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government is sensitive to charges concerning its human 
rights practices, which it stoutly defends. In September a 
prominent government official attacked letter writers on human 
rights cases in Ghana as well-intentioned but ill-informed and 
singled out Amnesty International (AI) for specific criticism. 
The PNDC is particularly critical of charges from human rights 
groups in the West that it lacks a democratic structure, 
arguing that Western-style democracy has repeatedly failed in 
Ghana and that the current system involving "participatory 
democracy" through CDR " s and other mass organizations has more 
"grassroots" support and is more broadly democratic than 
previous Ghanaian governments. 

No foreign human rights organization has asked recently to 
conduct any investigations in Ghana. There are no known 
locally organized human rights groups currently operating in 
Ghana, but several other organizations--most notably the Ghana 
Bar Association — attempts to address human rights issues from 
time to time. 

The Government cooperates with the International Committee of 
the Red Cross, and there is a chapter of AI in Ghana. In 
September 1988, Ghana was host to a meeting of the 
International Federation of Women Lawyers, which addressed 
human rights in Ghana. However, as far as is known, no other 
representatives of international human rights organizations 
visited Ghana in 1988. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Although ethnic differences are intentionally downplayed by 
the Government, occasional charges are aired that the PNDC and 
the political leadership are dominated by members of the Ewe 
ethnic group. Chairman Rawlings and a number of his close 
advisors are Ewe. 

The Government has made a concerted effort to raise the status 
of women in Ghana. In 1985 it promulgated four laws which 
overturned many of the discriminatory customary, traditional, 
and colonial laws; these concerned family accountability, 
intestate succession, customary divorce registrations, and the 
administration of estates. Women in urban centers and those 
who have entered modern society encounter little apparent 
bias, but role pressures persist. Women in the rural 
agricultural sector remain subject to stronger constraints 
associated with the traditional mores of male dominance. 



141 > 

GHANA 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The PNDC has not interfered with the right of workers to 
associate in labor unions. Trade unions in Ghana and their 
activities are still governed by the Industrial Relations Act 
(IRA) of 1958, subsequently amended in 1965 and 1972. 
Organized labor in Ghana is represented by the independent 
Trades Union Congress (TUC) , established in 1958. It consists 
of a national headquarters and 16 affiliated unions, 
representing a claimed total membership of over 700,000 
workers in skilled and semiskilled trades. Union members 
elect their own leaders, and representatives of the affiliated 
unions elect the TUC leadership at quadrennial conferences, 
the most recent being in March. The TUC publishes its own 
newspaper. It is independent of government subventions and 
has publicly criticized the Government at times for its 
economic policies as well as its failure to adequately consult 
the trade union movement. 

The right to strike is recognized in law and in practice, 
although the Government has on occasion taken strong action to 
end strikes, especially those which threaten interests it 
perceives as vital. Under the IRA, the Government has 
established a system under which it seeks first to conciliate, 
then arbitrate, disputes. Discussions have been under way for 
some time to replace this system with labor tribunals to 
arbitrate industrial disputes certified as deadlocked, but the 
Government has declared that establishment of labor tribunals 
must be part of a new, consolidated industrial relations act, 
which cannot be implemented piecemeal. 

The TUC represents Ghanaian workers in the meetings of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) and is affiliated to 
the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) . 
Consistent with OATUU guidelines, it maintains no other 
international affiliations, although it has friendly relations 
with other international labor organizations, including the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the World 
Federation of Trade Unions. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The right to organize is generally respected, although civil 
servants are prohibited by law from joining or organizing a 
trade union. The TUC is a large, well-established union 
organization whose membership has shown little growth in 
recent years, largely due to a stagnant economy which has 
produced few new jobs. Ghana's trade unions engage in 
collective bargaining for wages and benefits with both private 
and state-owned enterprises, though in the latter category the 
threat of detention (a common practice in the early 1980's) 
hangs over union leaders to force agreement on issues. At the 
end of 1988, no union leaders were under detention for 
union-related activities. There are no functioning export 
processing zones in Ghana, and labor legislation is applied 
uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Ghanaian law prohibits forced labor, and it is not known to be 
practiced. 



142 

GHANA 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Labor legislation in Ghana sets a minimum employment age of 15 
and prohibits night work and certain types of hazardous labor 
for those under 18. In practice, child labor is prevalent, 
and young children of school age can often be found during the 
day performing menial tasks in the market or collecting fares 
on local buses. Enforcement of minimum age laws is uneven, 
especially since local custom and economic circumstances favor 
children working to help their families. Violators of 
regulations prohibiting heavy labor and night work for children 
are occasionally punished. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum standards for wages and working conditions are 
established through a tripartite committee composed of 
representatives of government, labor, and employees. It 
establishes a minimum wage rate, and other salaries are 
adjusted accordingly. Effective January 1987, the minimum 
wage was increased 25 percent to $0.50 per working day at 
current exchange rates. In early 1988, the TUC called for a 
"meaningful" national wage of not less than $4.00 per day. 
The existing minimum wage is insufficient for a single wage 
earner to support a family. In most cases, however, households 
are supported by multiple wage earners, some family farming, 
and other family based commercial activities. The tripartite 
committee was unable to agree on a cost-of-living study, and 
no minimum wage increase was mandated, although the TUC was 
authorized to enter into collective bargaining with private 
and state-owned enterprises anyway. The basic workweek in 
Ghana is 40 hours. Occupational safety and health regulations 
are in effect, and sanctions are occasionally applied to 
violators . 



143 



GUINEA 



General Lansana Conte leads a military government which 
assumed power in 1984 after the death of Sekou Toure. He 
inherited a 26-year legacy of mismanagement and leftwing 
authoritarianism. Since the military Government suspended the 
Constitution in 1984, the Military Committee for National 
Recovery (CMRN) and a military and civilian Council of 
Ministers rule through ordinances, decrees, and decisions 
issued by the President and various ministers. The 1965 
Guinean Penal Code regulates treatment of prisoners, delegates 
authority to permit public assemblies, and provides some 
guarantees of personal liberties. Generally disregarded 
during the previous regime, the Code has increasingly been 
enforced by the CMRN. 

Military and paramilitary forces number about 17,000 persons, 
with the army consisting of some 10,000 officers and 
soldiers. The 2,000-man national guard (Gendarmerie 
Nationale), a police force, and a well-armed presidential 
guard share in providing internal security. 

Eighty percent of Guinea's population of 7 million is 
dependent on subsistence agriculture, with per capita annual 
income estimated at barely $300. The country relies largely 
on mineral resources, mainly bauxite, but also diamonds and 
gold, for export income. Under President Conte, Guinea has 
been attempting to create an economic environment conducive to 
private enterprise and free market activity. Its 
comprehensive economic reform program has diversified the 
small salaried work force and made it less dependent on public 
service jobs primarily through the creation of producers' 
associations and cooperatives, and by promoting foreign 
investment. In the wake of reforms, the economy has 
occasionally been subjected to heavy inflationary pressures 
which early in the year led to protest demonstrations by 
university students and unemployed youth. 

Despite the improvements since the fall of the Toure regime, 
human rights continue to be circumscribed in Guinea, 
especially in the political sphere. In particular, the 
secretive handling by the CMRN of those arrested and tried 
following the 1985 coup attempt against the Conte Government 
has left a residue of controversy and questions concerning 
their fate. At the end of 1987, the President moved to 
alleviate this situation by granting amnesty to 67 persons who 
had been imprisoned in 1984 and 1985 for association with this 
coup attempt or with the previous Toure regime; an additional 
39 persons were released on October 2, 1988. Others detained 
after the 1985 coup attempt remain unaccounted for. The 
Government in 1988 publicly stressed its commitment to work 
toward "a government of laws," encouraged the teaching of 
human rights in African schools by hosting er all-African 
seminar on this subject, and promulgated a new work code to 
further worker rights with the help of the International Labor 
Organization (ILO). 

RESPECT FOR -'UMAN RIGHTS 

Respect "^or the Integrity of the Person, Including 

F";:e-;-c;^ "rom: 

-ai Killing 
Tnere were no reports of politically motivated killings. 



144 

GUINEA 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 
However, there is still uncertainty about the fate of some 
military officers who disappeared after their arrest following 
the 1985 coup attempt. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The military Government has denounced the human rights 
atrocities of the former Toure dictatorship and seeks to 
enforce provisions of the 1965 Penal Code which forbid torture 
and abuse of authority. Mistreatment of prisoners continues, 
largely a result of poor discipline among guards, but is not 
condoned by the Government. In the case of those arrested 
after the 1985 coup attempt, the Amnesty International (AI) 
1988 report indicates that the authorities may have used 
torture and other forms of duress to extract statements which 
were subsequently used against these persons in secret trials. 

Prison conditions remain squalid. The Government is 
attempting to implement judicial and prison reforms to help 
alleviate these conditions. For example, in August it 
announced a project to renovate the Conakry central prison. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

A suspected criminal can be detained incommunicado until the 
arresting authority has completed a preliminary investigation 
and has the right to counsel only after first appearing before 
a judge. A system of bail for those accused of less serious 
crimes, as defined by the presiding judge, is available at the 
judge's discretion. Despite presidential admonitions and 
campaigns in the government-owned media against corruption and 
harassment of citizens by paramilitary elements, there have 
been isolated incidents of extortion through arbitrary 
detention. 

Political detainees, such as those held after the 1985 coup 
attempt, have been held incommunicado for extended periods of 
time. About 10 university students were held without counsel 
for a few days after disturbances at the University of Conakry 
in January. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Guinean Penal Code contains provisions on the presumption 
of innocence of accused persons, the independence of judges, 
the equality of citizens before the law, the right of accused 
to counsel and to appeal a judicial decision, and amnesty. 
The judiciary has courts of first instance, or justices of the 
peace, at the local level and two courts of appeal (one in 
Kankan, one in Conakry) . The Court of Annulment is the 
Guinean court of last appeal. A Special Court of State 
Secrity was created in 1985 to try those allegedly involved in 
the July coup attempt. There is also a military court system. 

There is a parallel system of justice at the village or urban 
neighborhood level where litigants present their civil case 
before a village chief, neighborhood chief, or council of wise 
men for judgment. Justice is not enforced uniformly, 
however. For example, in urban areas, burglars, if caught. 



145 



GUINEA 

are sometimes beaten to death by victims and their neighbors 
with the tacit approval of police authorities. 

The Government's handling of those arrested for their alleged 
involvement either with the former Toure regime or the July 
1985 coup attempt has been the subject of much criticism by 
human rights organizations. About 70 civilians imprisoned in 
1984 and 1985 were later tried and sentenced in secret 
proceedings before the Special Court of State Security. 
Likewise, about 130 military personnel were tried and 
sentenced in secret before the Military Court for involvement 
in the July 1985 coup attempt. Much of the information 
concerning the arrest, interrogation, detention, trial 
procedures, sentencing, and release of prisoners under the 
jurisdiction of these Courts has never been made available. 
AI ' s 1988 report states that none of the defendants were ever 
informed the trials were taking place and that they were 
represented by legal counsel who never consulted them. For 
most of the accused, the Government announced the sentences 
only in May 1987. Presidential amnesties on December 31, 
1987, and on October 2, 1988, released 106 persons (including 
79 military). The fate of the remaining persons was unknown 
at the end of 1988, but it was widely believed that many of 
the announced death sentences had been carried out summarily 
shortly after the suspects were arrested. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Government stresses traditional family values and the 
inviolability of the home. In general, the military 
Government is less willing than the previous regime to abuse 
police powers, although some unwarranted interference in 
citizens' lives continues, mainly through individual police 
harassment related to extortion. Though not officially 
sanctioned, some mail and telephone calls are subject to 
monitoring . 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and the Press 

The Government has publicly stated that it supports free 
speech and press. President Conte asked the Guinean press in 
April to exercise more independence and especially avoid 
contrived praise of himself or his Government. However, the 
Government owns and operates the news media, and reporters, 
who are government employees, practice self- censorship. 
There was more investigative reporting in 1988, but no 
criticism of the senior levels of government or established 
policies . 

The Guinean Penal Code also contains numerous restrictions on 
speech and press freedoms; for example, the Code reguires 
authors to indicate name, profession, and place of residence 
on every article published. This regulation is not fully 
implemented at present; at most only the name of the author is 
given, and some articles are unattributed. Publications which 
incite crime or are contrary to good morals are prohibited, as 
are insult, defamation, and libel. Citizens do not generally 
feel free to express public criticism of the Government, but 
some groups, operating for the most part abroad, have 
expressed criticism in clandestinely published and distributed 
tracts. The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism 
continues to act both as administrator and censor of media 



146 



GUINEA 

services. Many foreign publications circulate freely in 
Guinea, including some critical of the Government, and no 
attempt is made to interfere with foreign radio broadcasts. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Public gatherings can take place only with the approval of the 
Government. The Guinean Penal Code bans any meeting which has 
an ethnic or racial character or any gathering "whose nature 
threatens national unity." The Government encourages the 
formation of nonpolitical professional organizations and their 
numbers continue to increase. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Guineans generally enjoy religious freedom and tolerance for 
the larger religious groups. Missionaries may proselytize in 
Guinea. Although an estimated 85 percent of the population is 
nominally Muslim, there is no official state religion. The 
Government observes both major Christian and Muslim holidays. 
There have been some signs of intolerance of smaller sects, 
however. In July 1988, the Government established an 
interminister ial commission charged with drafting "a 
comprehensive report on the measures that should be taken to 
put an end to the proliferation of religious sects." No 
report had been issued at the end of 1988. In 1987 the 
Government denied the Baha'is authorization to procure land 
and build a Baha ' i center in Conakry. Several other 
organizations, both religious and secular, have faced similar 
problems in obtaining building permits. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Guineans are free to move about the country and to change 
place of residence and work, although in practice they face 
some harassment by police and military at unauthorized 
roadblocks, particularly at night. It is common for 
individual citizens to pay bribes to avoid police harassment. 
The number of police patrols and checkpoints increased in 
1988, in part to counter drug-related crime and juvenile 
delinquency. Foreign travel for Guinean citizens involves 
considerable delay to obtain a passport and required exit 
visas . 

The Government has restricted the freedom of movement of 
individual citizens for political reasons. For example, the 
67 persons who were granted amnesty at the end of 1987 were 
restricted to their area of origin upon their release from 
prison. That restriction has gradually been relaxed in many 
cases and left to the discretion of local prefects. The 
Government has encouraged Guinean expatriates, including 
former exiles of the Sekou Toure regime, to return home. 
There are still significant numbers of Guineans living in 
neighboring African countries and in France. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Guinea has had no long-term experience with democracy since 
independence, and citizens are unable to change their 
government under democratic procedures. The military 



147 



GUINEA 

Government suspended the Constitution and banned political 
parties and formal political activity when it took power in 
April 1984. In 1988, however, the Government established a 
constitutional commission whose mandate is to draft a 
constitution by the end of 1989. Decentralization remained a 
major theme in 1988, and the Government continued to 
strengthen local government advisory bodies at the village 
level in rural areas. Nonpartisan elections at the 
subpref ecture level have taken place in most parts of the 
country for selection of officials responsible for local 
development projects and other community services. These 
officials complement the subprefects, prefects, and provincial 
governors appointed by the President. 

While there are no women in the CMRN, women do hold cabinet 
posts, ambassadorships, judicial positions, and other high 
level government positions. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

In 1987 senior government officials, including the Minister of 
Justice and the President of the State Security Court, 
received AI representatives seeking information about the 
secret trials. It is not known what the Government's response 
was, if any, to AI ' s memorandum submitted in December 1987 
expressing its concerns about the trials and proposing 
measures to uphold human rights. The Government permits a 
local affiliate of AI to operate. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

While racial or ethnic discrimination is prohibited by the 
Penal Code, ethnic identification is still very strong in 
Guinea and mutual suspicion affects relations across ethnic 
lines within and outside the Government. The Soussou ethnic 
group, to which President Conte belongs, tends to predominate 
at the highest, most influential levels. However, there are 
currently no major ethnic disputes, and government policy is 
to include representatives of all major ethnic groups in the 
Government. The Government repeatedly urges Guineans to think 
of themselves as a nation and not as members of ethnic groups. 

In rural Guinea, opportunities for women are limited by custom 
and the traditional demands of subsistence farming. Even in 
urban areas Guinean women lag behind in school enrollments and 
in employment opportunities. Nevertheless, in addition to 
progress in government service, women are well-represented in 
music, dance, sports, and business throughout the country. 
The Government has affirmed the principle of egual pay for 
equal work, but in practice women receive less pay than men in 
most jobs. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Guinea's new Labor Code, drafted with the assistance of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) and promulgated in 
January 1988, states all workers have the right to create and 
participate in organizations that defend and develop their 
individual and collective rights as workers. The Code also 
provides that workers have the right not to be a member of 



148 



GUINEA 

such organizations. Further, it stipulates that a union must 
be independent of political parties to be recognized as 
representative of workers. The Code requires elected worker 
representatives for any enterprise employing 25 salaried 
workers. The Code also grants salaried workers the right to 
strike 10 days after their representative union makes known 
their intention to strike. 

The ILO Committee of Experts has commended the Government for 
its new labor code; however, it has also noted that 
discrepancies remain between the relevant ILO Convention and 
legislative provisions that permit only workers of Guinean 
nationality to be elected as trade union officers and that 
provide for the establishment of compulsory arbitration. 

In practice, most salaried Guineans — many of whom are civil 
servants--are affiliated with the country's sole trade union 
central, the Guinean National Labor Confederation (CNTG) , 
which has close ties to the Government. The CNTG is 
affiliated with the Organization of African Trade Union Unity 
and maintains relations with recognized regional and 
international bodies, including the ILO. Private sector 
workers may strike only with the permission of the CNTG board, 
a requirement which reduces the likelihood of strikes. The 
Government has dealt sternly with wildcat strikers in the 
past, including banning those in the public sector from 
further government employment. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Under the new Code, representative workers' unions or union 
groups can organize in the workplace and negotiate with 
employers or employers' associations. Union delegates are to 
represent individual and collective claims and grievances 
before the employer. Work rules and work hours established by 
the employer are to be developed in consultation with union 
delegates. Individual workers threatened with dismissal or 
other sanctions have the right to a hearing before the 
employer with a union representative present. Employers must 
give advance notice of any plan to reduce the size of their 
work force for economic reasons. 

In practice, CNTG representatives take the lead in 
labor-management talks. Collective bargaining has taken 
place, most notably in 1986 when the CNTG concluded an 
agreement with the mining companies, and again in 1988 when 
bank employees collectively bargained for substantially higher 
salaries. Labor legislation is applied uniformly throughout 
the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced or compulsory labor is not practiced in Guinea, and 
Article 2 of the Labor Code specifically forbids it. The ILO 
Committee of Experts has noted the Government ' s. stated 
intention to revise or repeal various laws that have become 
obsolete so as to bring them into compliance with ILO 
conventions on forced labor. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment in practice as well as in the 
new code is 16 years of age. Apprentices, however, may be as 
young as 14 years old. Workers and apprentices below age 18 
are not permitted to work at night or more than 12 consecutive 



149 



GUINEA 

hours or on Sundays. According to the Labor Code, the 
Minister of Labor must maintain a list of occupations in which 
women and youth under age 18 may not be employed. Enforcement 
of these provisions outside of the modern sector of the 
economy however tends to be erratic, particularly in rural 
areas . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The Government has not yet enacted minimum wage legislation, 
but the Labor Code provides for the eventual establishment by 
decree of a guaranteed minimum hourly wage. There are also 
provisions for overtime and night wage rates, which are fixed 
percentages of the regular wage. Wages currently paid the 
average worker in the public sector are generally not 
sufficent to provide a decent standard of living. According 
to the Code, regular work is not to exceed 10 hours per day 
nor 48 hours per week, with a 40-hour workweek being the 
norm. The minimum weekly day of rest must be 24 consecutive 
hours, usually on Sunday. Every salaried worker has the right 
to an annual paid holiday accumulated at the rate of at least 
2 1/2 workdays per month of service. Several articles of the 
Code provide for safe working conditions and the continued 
good health of workers. These as yet represent the goal 
rather than the practice. 



150 



GUINEA-BISSAU 

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau has been a one-party 
constitutional state since May 1984, when the provisional 
government, established after the 1980 coup d'etat, was 
abolished. General Joao Bernardo Vieira serves as President 
of the Council of State and Head of State, Commander-in-Chief, 
and General Secretary of Guinea-Bissau's sole political party, 
the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and 
Cape Verde (PAIGC). According to the 1984 Constitution, the 
National Assembly decides fundamental questions of internal 
and external policy, but it meets infrequently. Effective 
power and day-to-day control rests in the hands of the 
President and the Council of State. Although the President is 
the most powerful member of the Council, decisionmaking is 
collegial rather than autocratic. The party selects all 
candidates for office. 

The armed forces (FARP) are responsible for state security, 
both external and internal. FARP leaders are usually members 
of the PAIGC and often hold key positions in the Politburo or 
Central Committee. Persons accused of political crimes are 
tried by military tribunals. 

Guinea-Bissau remains one of the world's least developed 
nations and depends upon foreign aid for its survival. The 
Government's postindependence efforts to exercise central 
control over the economy resulted in chronic shortages of most 
basic commodities, high unemployment, and a weak national 
currency. Beginning in late 1986, the Government launched a 
new series of reforms to promote long-term economic growth by 
shifting from a state-run centralized economy to a free market 
system. While the reforms resulted in strong growth of the 
private sector and improved agricultural production, inflation 
remained high, and urban residents witnessed a sharp drop in 
their standard of living and purchasing power. 

There was little change in the human rights situation in 
1988. In March the Government released its most prominent 
political prisoner, Raphael Barbosa, cofounder of the PAIGC, 
on humanitarian grounds. Approximately 40 men remain 
imprisoned on an island in the Bijagos Archipelago. Most of 
these prisoners are serving sentences for complicity in an 
October 1985 plot to overthrow President Vieira. There have 
been no executions in Guinea-Bissau since six leaders of the 
1985 plot, including former Vice President Correia, were 
executed in July 1986. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of politically motivated killing. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known cases of disappearance. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The Constitution prohibits cruel and inhuman punishment. 
However, security authorities employ severe interrogation 



151 



GUINEA-BISSAU 

methods, and Amnesty International (AI) has, in the past, 
received allegations of the use of torture in security cases 
and deaths in custody due to mistreatment. Prison conditions 
are unsanitary, and prisoners' families must routinely bring 
them food and medical supplies to supplement scanty rations. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Arrests in Guinea-Bissau are frequently arbitrary, as arrest 
procedures are undefined and the use of arrest warrants is the 
exception rather than the rule. The legal system, inherited 
from the Portuguese colonial regime but modified by the 
Constitution, includes important procedural rights, such as 
the right to counsel and the right to a judicial determination 
of the legality of detention. Bail procedures are observed 
erratically. The Government has held persons, sometimes for 
extended periods of time, without charge or trial, including 
in incommunicado detention. For example, several years ago 
the Government briefly detained without charge members of the 
Yanque-Yanque movement, on the grounds the group's activities, 
which included mutilation of members in initiation ceremonies 
and killing enemies, posed a danger to society. 

In August 1987, AI submitted a memorandum to the Government 
detailing its concern about the long-term detention without 
trial of suspected government opponents and allegations of 
torture and ill-treatment of detainees. One of Amnesty's 
concerns was the case of Raphael Barbosa. In March the 
Government released Barbosa from a prison camp on the island 
of Formosa. Barbosa had been serving a life sentence for 
having collaborated with Portuguese secret security police 
during Guinea-Bissau's independence struggle. 

The Government has legal authority to exile prisoners but has 
not done so in recent years. Conscientious objectors are not 
exempt from military service. 

For regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Traditional law still prevails in most rural areas, and many 
urban dwellers continue to bring judicial disputes to 
recognized traditional counselors. The official judicial 
system is based on the Portuguese model, with some exceptions. 
Intervals between arrest and trial are often lengthy. All 
defense lawyers are court appointed, as private legal practice 
is prohibited. The judiciary is a part of the executive 
branch. Trials involving state security usually are not open 
to outside observers and are conducted by military tribunals. 
FARP members are tried by military courts for all offenses. 

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for both 
civilian and military cases except those involving national 
security matters, in which instance the Council of State 
reviews all decisions. The 1986 treason trials of 56 accused 
conspirators took place before the Superior Military Tribunal, 
the highest military court. The 12 persons sentenced to death 
appealed to the Council of State for clemency and, as a 
result, 6 had their death sentences commuted to 15-year prison 
terms. Of those convicted in the 1986 trials, an estimated 40 
men remain incarcerated at a prison labor camp on an island in 
the Bijagos Archipelago. Although isolated from outside 
observers, the prisoners reportedly are able to move about the 
island and are responsible for growing much of their own food. 



90-641 - 89 - 6 



152 



GUINEA-BISSAU 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Constitutional guarantees of the inviolability of domicile, 
person, and correspondence are not generally respected in 
cases of serious crimes or state security. The use of search 
warrants, for example, is rare. International and domestic 
mail is subject to surveillance and censorship. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Constitution provides for freedom of intellectual, 
artistic, and scientific expression, with the significant 
exception of cases in which these rights are exercised in a 
manner "contrary to the promotion of social progress." In 
fact, the Government controls all information media and views 
the press as a vehicle of the party. Journalists are 
government employees and practice self-censorship. However, 
the media is permitted to criticize and question some 
policies, although it may not criticize individual officials. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and 
association, and government approval is not required for 
peaceful, nonpolitical assemblies and demonstrations. 
However, all existing organizations and associations are 
linked to the Government or the party, including the sole 
labor union, the National Union of the Workers of 
Guinea-Bissau (UNTG) , and antigovernment meetings are not 
tolerated . 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Religious freedom is provided for in the Constitution and has 
been respected. Christians, Muslims, and animists worship 
freely, and proselytizing is permitted. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Citizens are allowed to move freely throughout Guinea-Bissau. 
Foreign travel is not restricted, nor is citizenship revoked 
for political reasons. Thousands of persons have emigrated 
for economic reasons. Return of expatriates is encouraged, 
although the 1986 deaths of two opposition members in a car 
accident during their forced repatriation from Senegal 
convinced some government opponents that they would not be 
welcomed back to Guinea-Bissau. While sympathetic to the 
principle of asylum, Guinea-Bissau does not host significant 
numbers of refugees. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens do not have the ability peacefully and legally to 
change the Government or the form of government. 
Guinea-Bissau is led by the PAIGC party and military elite, 
headed by President Joao Bernardo Vieira. By the terms of the 
Constitution, all political activity takes place within the 



153 



GUINEA-BISSAU 

party/state structure. The 1984 electoral slates for the 
National Popular Assembly at the district, regional, and 
national levels were party-prepared lists. The President, 
members of the Council of State, and National Popular Assembly 
deputies are elected to 5-year terms. There are provisions 
for constitutional amendments and national referendums to be 
initiated by the National Popular Assembly, but the Assembly 
has never taken such an initiative. No single ethnic group 
dominates party or government positions, but Papel and Creole 
(mixed-race) groups, predominantly located in and around the 
capital of Bissau, are disproportionately represented in the 
Government. Women have legal equality with men and hold some 
influential jobs within the party and the Government. The 
current Minister for Labor and Social Security and the 
President of the National Assembly are both women. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Although international human rights groups have visited 
Guinea-Bissau, their visits have always been tightly 
controlled. The Government invited an AI mission to visit in 
1986. AI delegates held discussions in June 1986 with 
President Vieira and many other officials and attended one 
session of the treason trial. The Government's response, if 
any, to AI ' s 1987 memorandum on human rights has not been made 
public. There are no local human rights groups in 
Guinea-Bissau. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The population of Guinea-Bissau comprises diverse tribal 
groups, each with its own language, customs, and social 
organization. The Fula, Mandinga, Balanta, Manjaca, and Papel 
are important groups. Creoles enjoy an advantageous position 
within the society, due to their generally higher level of 
education and their links abroad. Although the President and 
other influential leaders regularly urge the nation to 
overcome ethnic differences, economic dominance by Creoles 
(and to a lesser extent Fulas) has created resentment among 
other ethnic communities. Most of the defendants in the 1986 
treason trial were members of the Balanta, the largest ethnic 
group (30 percent) . 

Discrimination against women, while officially prohibited, 
continues within certain ethnic groups, especially the Muslim 
Fulas and Mandingas of the North and East. Among those groups 
female circumscision is still practiced, despite official 
prohibition and educational campaigns against this custom. 
Women enjoy higher status in the societies of the Balanta, 
Papel, and Bijagos groups living mainly in the southern 
coastal region. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Approximately one-half the population of Guinea-Bissau is of 
working age. While the Constitution provides for freedom of 
association, only one labor union, the National Union of the 
Workers of Guinea-Bissau (UNTG) , is organized in Guinea- 
Bissau. With strong ties to the PAIGC, the UNTG more closely 
resembles a mass organization than a union. The UNTG has 



154 



GUINEA-BISSAU 

neither aggressively nor effectively promoted worker rights. 
The UNTG is affiliated with the Communist-controlled World 
Federation of Trade Unions and is a member of the Organization 
of African Trade Union Unity. Strikes, while not specifically 
forbidden, do not occur. Since the Government's use of force 
to disperse students attempting to strike in 1981, the 
public's perception has been that strikes, like antigovernment 
meetings, would not be tolerated. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Of the 25,000 salaried workers in the country, approximately 
60 percent are employees of the Government. Only 4,000 
persons comprise Guinea-Bissau's small manufacturing sector. 
The scarcity of salaried jobs has forced employees to focus on 
obtaining and keeping employment rather than on organizing and 
bargaining. While public employees are permitted to join the 
UNTG, the union's activities do not encompass organizing 
employees (whether public or private) for the purpose of 
collective bargaining. The Constitution and labor laws do not 
provide a right to organize and bargain, and, at present, the 
right is neither protected nor practiced. There are no export 
processing zones in Guinea-Bissau. Labor laws are applicable 
throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
There is no forced or compulsory labor in Guinea-Bissau. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The Government in 1987 approved a new labor code which set a 
minimum age of 14 for general factory labor and of 18 for 
heavy or dangerous labor, including all labor in mines. In an 
overwhelmingly rural and agricultural society, traditional 
division of labor practices both between sexes and age groups 
continues to prevail. Children in all rural communities work 
in the fields and at home for no pay. The Government does not 
attempt to discourage this practice and, in fact, delays the 
opening of schools until the rice season has ended. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Even in the small wage sector, labor laws are ill-defined and 
unevenly enforced, due primarily to the extreme economic 
underdevelopment of the society. However, there are 
government regulations covering such matters as job-related 
disabilities and vacation rights. The normal workweek is 35 
hours. Although not consistently enforced, a minimum wage of 
approximately $11 per month has been established by the 
Ministry of Civil Service, Labor and Social Security. That 
wage is inadequate to maintain even a minimum standard of 
living. Existing legal health and safety standards for 
workers are not enforced in a uniform and comprehensive manner. 



155 



KENYA 



Although Kenya has had an elected civilian government since 
independence in 1963, it has been a de facto one-party state 
almost since independence and a de jure one-party state since 
1982. President Daniel T. arap Moi maintains firm control 
over both the Government and the party, the Kenyan African 
National Union (KANU) . KANU membership is a prerequisite for 
participation in national political affairs. The popularly 
elected National Assembly of 202 members (including 12 
appointed by the President and 2 ex officio members) has 
little genuine power in national political affairs. Its role 
is generally limited to local and regional issues and in 
affirming the President's initiatives. President Moi was 
reelected unopposed to a third 5-year term in 1988. 

The Kenyan armed forces constitute a small professional 
establishment with a total strength of 22,500 members. Kenya 
has an internal security apparatus that includes the police 
Criminal Investigation Division (CID) , the paramilitary 
General Services Unit (GSU) , and the Directorate of Security 
and Intelligence (DSI or Special Branch) . The CID and Special 
Branch are used to monitor and control people whom the State 
considers subversive. The Preservation of Public Security Act 
sanctions indefinite detention without charge or trial in 
security cases, and the courts have upheld the 

constitutionality of properly executed actions taken under the 
authority of that Act. 

Kenya's modern, market-oriented economy includes a 
well-developed private sector for trade and light 
manufacturing as well as an agricultural sector that provides 
food for local consumption and substantial exports of coffee, 
tea, and other commodities. In 1988 a continued decline in 
world coffee prices exacerbated a balance of payments 
problem. Economic growth continued, but a persistently high 
population growth rate contributed to a serious and growing 
problem of unemployment. Kenyans are free to engage in 
private economic activity and own property without government 
interference . 

In 1988 there were several important developments adversely 
affecting the human rights situation. In the spring, 
two-stage parliamentary elections took place amid much 
controversy over the public queuing system (voters must 
publicly line up behind photographs of their candidate) used 
in the key primary (party) election and charges of fraud in 
some races. The electoral outcome further strengthened 
executive branch and central party control over the 
legislature. In August the new National Assembly unanimously 
and speedily passed two presidentially supported 
constitutional amendments which further increased the 
President's power by giving him authority to fire senior 
judges and members of the Public Service Commission and 
expanded police authority to detain without charge suspects in 
capital crimes up to 14 days (previously 24 hours). The 
President and his advisers staunchly defended these changes as 
necessary to maintain a "rule of law." Critics charged that 
they seriously undermined the independence of the judiciary 
and invited increased police mistreatment of detainees. In a 
more positive vein, by contrast with 1986-1987 when more than 
70 persons suspected of belonging to the illegal dissident 
group, Mwakenya, were convicted and sentenced amid reports of 
police abuse, there were 9 publicly confirmed security 
convictions in 1988. As of December 1988, 7 Kenyans were 



156 



KENYA 

being detained without charge under the Preservation of Public 
Security Act, as compared with 12 Kenyans in detention in 
December 1987. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

Violence among supporters of rival candidates in several areas 
of Kenya during the 1988 election campaigns resulted in 
approximately 5 deaths nationwide. 

By the end of 1988, no officials had been held responsible for 
the 1986-1987 deaths in custody of two Mwakenya suspects. In 
a January ruling, a magistrate stated he believed Peter 
Karanja had been tortured and referred the matter to the 
Attorney General's office for further investigation. A 
similar case involving the death of Stephen Wanjema in 1986 
had not been heard by the end of 1988. 

b. Disappearance 

Kenyan authorities frequently detain people, in some cases for 
prolonged periods, without allowing notification of families, 
friends, or lawyers as to their whereabouts and have even 
failed to acknowledge the detention when inquiries were made. 
For example, when Raila Odinga, a former detainee, was 
rearrested on August 30, his family inquired at Nairobi police 
stations as to his whereabouts but were given no information. 
On September 8, in response to a habeas corpus petition filed 
by Odinga's wife, authorities announced that he had been 
detained under the Preservation of Public Security Act, but 
they did not bring him to the habeas corpus hearing or inform 
his family where he was being held. As of the end of the 
year, neither his family nor his lawyer had been allowed to 
see him. 

The 1987 habeas corpus case brought by the wife of a missing 
Kiambu farmer was dismissed in 1988. Police claimed thay had 
shot the man, a robbery suspect, while he was trying to 
escape, but they never produced the body for examination. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Although torture is proscribed under the Constitution, reports 
of torture and police brutality continued in 1988. 
Mistreatment of suspects is common and occasionally results in 
death. A number of Kenyans told the press they had been 
physically abused by the police, and in several 1988 cases, 
citizens presented evidence in court to that effect. Maina wa 
Kinyatti, a historian and university lecturer who completed a 
6-year term for possession of seditious documents in October, 
held a press conference upon his release. Speaking with 
difficulty, a condition he attributed to more than 1 year in 
solitary confinement, he denied that he had ever been 
associated with Mwakenya, and described his mistreatment, 
including beatings, inadequate diet and medical care, 
confinement with prisoners who were insane, and being forced 
to perform exhausting and degrading exercises. In November 
Harris O. Arara testified in court that during his 
interrogation at CID headquarters he was starved for 5 days 



157 



and threatened with harsher treatment if he did not plead 
guilty to possession of seditious documents. 

Although some police officers have been charged in connection 
with abuse of prisoners, no policeman has been convicted of 
such abuse in political/security cases. Apparently, no 
policemen were convicted of abuse in other types of cases 
during 1988. In Mombasa, two robbery suspects--a Kenyan and a 
Zairian — died while in police custody. Five police officers 
were arrested in connection with the case, and two of these 
officers mysteriously died in the custody of their 
colleagues. A Mombasa magistrate ruled that "no particular 
police officer" was responsible for the death of the Kenyan 
suspect, but police officers were charged with the death of 
the Zairian suspect, and their trial was under way at the end 
of the year. In July two policemen in Kisumu were charged 
with murder, and in August two policemen in Eldoret were 
ordered to stand trial for allegedly murdering a farmer during 
interrogation. A closed hearing was held in January into 
allegations of torture of Wanyiri Kihoro, one of three 
detainees who remained in detention throughout 1988. Family 
members and the press were denied entry into the hearing. The 
court ruled that Kihoro had not been ill-treated. Two other 
cases involving similar allegations had not been heard by the 
end of the year. President Moi appointed a new police 
commissioner early in 1988 and charged him with cleaning up 
the police force, stating that police officers who committed 
illegal acts would be punished. 

Prison conditions in Kenya are poor. Detainees and prisoners 
have complained of beatings, poor food, and inadeguate 
facilities and medical care. Prisoners often must sleep on 
cold cement floors. The Preservation of Public Security Act 
allows for solitary confinement, with no contact with family 
or legal counsel, although in some cases lawyers and families 
have been permitted to visit detainees. Other prisoners (not 
detainees under the Preservation of Public Security Act) are 
allowed one brief visit per month by family members. Prison 
or security officers are usually present during visits by 
family members or lawyers. Correspondence with prisoners is 
monitored and occasionally not delivered. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Constitution provides that most arrested or detained 
persons shall be brought before a court "as soon as is 
reasonably practicable," and that if such person is not 
brought within 24 hours of his arrest or from the commencement 
of his detention the burden of explanation is on the 
authorities. The Constitution was amended in August to allow 
the police to hold people suspected of capital offenses for 14 
days before being brought before a court. The Attorney 
General argued that this additional detention time was 
required to complete investigations, but many legal experts in 
Kenya and abroad denounced this change as an invitation to 
police mistreatment. Capital offenses include such crimes as 
murder and treason. In practice, suspects of all types are 
often held incommunicado for long periods before being brought 
before a court. In all nine of the security case convictions 
in 1988, the suspects were held incommunicado, some for up to 
28 days before being brought to court. 

The Preservation of Public Security Act allows the State to 
detain an individual indefinitely without charges or trial. A 
formal detention order must be signed and published in the 



158 



KENYA 

gazette. There is no judicial review of the legality of 
detention. Detention cases are reviewed by a board appointed 
by the President which meets in camera. The Government is not 
bound by this board's recommendations. 

In February the President released 9 of 12 detainees held 
under the Preservation of Public Security Act, including Raila 
Odinga, who had been jailed in 1982 and was the longest- 
serving of the 9, and Israel Otiena Agina. The three who 
remained in detention--lawyers Mirugi Kariuki and Wanyiri 
Kihoro and university lecturer Mukaru Ng'ang'a, held since 
December, October, and July 1986 respectively--had earlier 
challenged the legality of their detention, hired legal 
counsel, and complained of torture and abuse. Subsequently, 
in August and September, the Government again detained Raila 
Odinga and Israel Otieno Agina on security grounds. In 
September Samuel Okumu Okwany and Richard Obuon Guya , two 
alleged members of the Kenya Patriotic Front (KPF) , were 
detained under the Preservation of Public Security Act. As of 
December 1988, these 7 Kenyans remained in detention under the 
Act. 

Neither exile nor threat of exile is used by the Government as 
a means of intimidation or punishment. Self-exile is a course 
of action sometimes chosen by Kenyan dissidents. In some 
cases, the Government states that these exiles are wanted for 
questioning for possible criminal charges in Kenya, although 
in most cases the exiles have not been formally charged with 
crimes. The Government has invited some of the exiles to 
return and publicly announced they would be safe in Kenya. 
One such exile returned in December 1987. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 5.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Kenya's legal system, as defined in the Judicature Act of 
1967, is based on the Kenyan Constitution, laws passed by 
Parliament, and common law or court precedent. Customary law 
is used as a guide in civil matters affecting people of the 
same ethnic groups so long as it does not conflict with 
statutory law. Kenya does not have the jury system. The 
court system consists of a Court of Appeals, a High Court, and 
two levels of magistrates' courts where most criminal and 
civil cases originate. Civilians are tried in civilian 
courts, and verdicts may be appealed to the Kenyan High Court 
and ultimately to the Court of Appeals. Military personnel 
are tried by military courts, and verdicts may be appealed 
within the military system. Attorneys for military personnel 
are appointed on a case by case basis by the Chief Justice. 

The President appoints the Chief Justice of the High Court, 
and he appoints other High Court judges with the advice of the 
Judicial Service Commission. The President also appoints the 
Attorney General. His power over the judicial system has 
steadily increased through constitutional amendments adopted 
in 1986 and 1988. Inter alia, these changes give the 
President a free hand in firing the Attorney General, the 
Auditor General, and High Court judges. Critics charged that 
these amendments further undermined the independence of the 
judiciary and the "rule of law." One High Court judge has 
already been removed since enactment of the new provision. 

In cases involving the Preservation of Public Security Act, 
judicial authority is limited to ensuring compliance with 



159 



KENYA 

procedural provisions. In cases without political 
implications the right to a fair public trial is normally 
observed, although long delays and postponements are common. 

The constitutional right to a fair public trial has been 
circumscribed in some instances, notably in political/security 
cases such as those involving alleged Mwakenya or KPF 
members. In 1987 at least 39 persons allegedly belonging to 
Mwakenya were brought to court and convicted. In 1988 there 
were nine convictions involving charges of membership in 
subversive organizations. In the first public prosecution in 
1988 involving charges of membership in a subversive 
organization, Andrew K. Muigai was convicted in 20 minutes 
based on his confession and sentenced to 6 years' 
imprisonment. He was held for 21 days before being charged, 
was allowed no visitors before being brought to court, and had 
no legal counsel. 

In September four persons were sentenced to 7 years' 
imprisonment for sedition in connection with membership in the 
KPF, an organization allegedly founded by self-exile Koigi wa 
Wamwere. All pleaded guilty to KPF membership and all were 
held over 2 weeks before being brought to trial, apparently 
without legal representation. In October one person was 
jailed for 5 years for possession of seditious documents and 
membership in Mwakenya. In the same month, former Member of 
Parliament Kimani wa Nyoike was sentenced to 20 months on a 
misdemeanor charge of failing to report an alleged coup plot 
to the Kenyan authorities. Harris 0. Arara (see Section I.e. 
above) was convicted in early November and sentenced to 2 
concurrent 5-year sentences for possession of seditious 
documents. Jackson Maina was also sentenced in November to 2 
years' imprisonment for taking an unlawful oath and being a 
member of Mwakenya. All but one of these cases followed a 
pattern that has raised serious questions about the fairness 
of most security trials: a long period of incommunicado 
detention, followed by a short unannounced trial in which the 
defendant, without legal representation, pleads guilty (thus 
precluding any appeal of the conviction, even if the guilty 
plea were coerced). Only the sentence may be appealed. Human 
rights organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human 
Rights Watch Committees, have criticized these trials as 
unfair. They have pointed to the fact that the defendants did 
not have advance notice of the trials and did not have legal 
representation. The large number of "confessions" in these 
trials is also cited as suspicious. 

Members of the press usually attended and reported on 
courtroom proceedings. Some trials involving allegations of 
torture, however, were not public. In one instance, two 
American human rights observers were forced to leave a public 
inquest into the death in custody of Peter Karanja (see 
Section l.a.). The men were held and questioned for 8 hours 
before release. 

Kenyans do not have a right to legal counsel except in certain 
capital cases. In those cases, most persons tried for capital 
offenses are provided counsel free of charge if they cannot 
afford it. Recent instances in which the Government detained 
lawyers involved in sensitive cases and attacked the Law 
Society of Kenya, which criticized the constitutional 
amendments, could discourage vigorous legal representation in 
security cases. When the Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya 
asked the Attorney General to clarify press reports that a 
Kenyan had been convicted for failure to give a ride to a 



160 



KENYA 

local official (which is not a crime under Kenya's Penal 
Code), the President suggested publicly that the Attorney 
General should seek the arrest of the Chairman for "contempt 
of court." The conviction for failure to give a ride was 
later dismissed on appeal. An announcement by the Government 
in 1988 of its intention to require lawyers and other 
professionals to have licenses has raised fears that the 
system could be used to intimidate the legal community, as has 
the announcement that the Government would establish a 
commission to probe into the conduct of lawyers. Human rights 
groups have charged that Government int imidiation may also 
have discouraged family members of detainees from pursuing 
habeas corpus actions. 

The harassment of Kenyan attorney Gibson Kamau Kuria, who 
served as legal counsel for several Mwakenya suspects, 
continued to attract wide international attention in 1988. He 
had been detained without charge in 1987, shortly after filing 
notices to sue the Government for illegal detention and 
torture on behalf of several clients, and was held for 9 
months under the Preservation of Public Security Act. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Searches without warrants are allowed under the Constitution 
in certain instances "to promote the public benefit," 
including security cases. Security officials also conduct 
searches without warrants to apprehend suspected criminals or 
to seize property suspected to be stolen. Homes of suspected 
dissidents have been searched without warrants, as have the 
residences of foreign missionaries. Security forces 
reportedly employ a variety of surveillance techniques, 
including electronic surveillance and a network of informers. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of speech and 
press, the exercise of these rights is restricted. No 
criticism of the President is tolerated in any form. Human 
rights groups have criticized Kenya's sedition laws for 
failing to distinguish between violent and nonviolent 
opposition to the Government. They have charged that security 
detentions and prosecutions have sometimes been used to 
restrict the expression of peaceful dissenting views. 

Parliament rarely debates national issues such as foreign 
policy. Even when the Government introduced important 
constitutional amendments in Parliament in mid-1988, there was 
no parliamentary debate, and the amendments were adopted 
without any opposing votes after less than 2 hours of 
discussion. 

Government and KANU action against outspoken politicians, 
clergymen, and lawyers, as well as the detention provisions of 
the Preservation of Public Security Act, discourage public 
exchange of views on some political topics. Some churchmen 
who opposed government policies, including queuing and the 
recent constitutional amendments, were sharply criticized and 
subjected to investigations. In this connection, the magazine 
Beyond, published by the National Council of Churches of Kenya 
(NCCK) , was banned in 1988 after publishing an issue that was 
critical of queue voting and the overall conduct of the KANU 



161 



KENYA 

nomination elections. The editor of the magazine, Bedan 
Mbugua, was convicted of improper financial management of the 
publication and given an unusual 9 month custodial sentence in 
August. As of December 1988 Mbugua was free on bail pending 
his appeal. The authorities also arrested several persons for 
possessing copies of Beyond,, and two were given 2-year 
sentences. Other persons were convicted of possession of 
literature defined as seditious, including possession of a 
Mwakenya publication. 

Privately owned newspapers and journals contribute importantly 
to the lively tradition of the press in Kenya. There is no 
systematic official censorship of the press, but officials of 
the newly created Ministry of National Guidance and Political 
Affairs (whose duties include censorship) have attacked 
publications they find objectionable. In March the Ministry 
condemned the Financial Review for an article criticizing the 
replacement of the Vice President and suggested the magazine 
might be banned. In December the editor of the Financial 
Review was held at CID headquarters for several hours of 
questioning regarding articles which had appeared in his 
magazine. Journalists practice self-censorship and keep 
commentary within usually understood but legally undefined 
limits. The press criticizes government policies and 
occasionally government officials, but it never criticizes the 
President. The Kenyan media gave good coverage of the 1988 
elections, including the controversial queue voting issue. 

At times the Government intervenes to tell editors how to 
handle sensitive stories. In separate instances during 1988, 
a cabinet minister ordered reporters to read back their notes 
for his approval, and a district officer in Kakamega warned 
journalists they would be arrested and beaten for publishing 
any stories about his district without his permission. (The 
latter was rebuked by higher officials.) 

Newspapers, magazines, and books from abroad are readily 
available, although in 1988 several issues of international 
publications which contained articles critical of Kenya were 
not allowed normal distribution within Kenya. More than 100 
foreign journalists representing western news organizations 
are based in Kenya. In 1988 the Government continued its 
attacks on this group for its coverage of Kenyan issues, e.g., 
the queue voting. It warned the public about speaking to 
foreign reporters. In one incident foreign journalists were 
briefly detained in Kisumu for attempting to film a burial 
service. In August a Kenya-based stringer for the British 
Broadcasting Corporation had her work permit canceled on 
leaving Kenya, but was later permitted to return to Kenya. 
The Kenyan authorities also require certification of union 
membership for foreign press accreditation in Kenya. In at 
least one instance in 1988, the lack of such union membership 
led to the denial of press credentials for an Associated Press 
reporter . 

The single television and all radio stations are owned and 
controlled by the Government and reflect government policies 
in coverage of national and international events and issues. 
A 10-member television censorship board has established 
guidelines for what can be shown. A 10- to 12-member film 
censorship board under the Ministry of National Guidance and 
Political Affairs must approve all films shown in Kenya. A 
variety of foreign films is available, though in August the 
Governm.ent banned nearly 200 foreign films (most, if not all, 



162 



X-rated) on "protection of public morals" grounds. The films 
were not political. 

There are no formal limits to academic freedom. While 
numerous books critical of the Government, such as the works 
by dissident self-exile Ngugi wa Thiongo, are available in 
Kenya, some writings on recent Kenyan history and politics 
have been considered sensitive, and the academic climate does 
not encourage writing on these topics. Eighteen publications 
that were prohibited in 1986 remain blacklisted. University 
professors were among those detained on security grounds. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly, but it is 
limited by the Public Order and Police Act, which gives 
authorities power to control public gatherings, defined as 
meetings of three or more persons. It is illegal to convene 
an unlicensed meeting, and politicians have been arrested for 
violations of this Act. Although licenses to hold public 
meetings are rarely denied, in the preliminaries to the 1988 
elections some politicians complained that they were not able 
to obtain a license, while government-favored candidates held 
rallies without licenses. 

Freedom of association is generally allowed. With the 
important exception of civil servants, who are required to 
join KANU, Kenyans are not legally bound to join any political 
organization. Party membership, however, has become a form of 
loyalty test, even though the party and the Government 
emphasize that it is voluntary. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 5. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Kenya has no state religion. Freedom of worship is 
acknowledged in the Constitution and allowed in most cases. 
Foreign missionaries of many denominations are permitted to 
work in Kenya, although on occasion the President and other 
officials have publicly questioned the motives of certain 
missionaries and periodically warned foreign missionaries not 
to engage in politics. Several American missionaries, 
including the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints, were questioned about their activities and 
cautioned that they could be jailed or expelled for holding 
illegal meetings. Although no foreign missionary was known to 
have been deported in 1988, some who had been targets of 
government criticism had to leave when their work permits were 
not renewed. 

Churches new to Kenya must obtain government approval to be 
registered. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 
is one group which has tried without success for 7 years to 
obtain registration. In 1987 another group, the Jehovah's 
Witnesses, were deregistered but continued in 1988 to hold 
services under a stay order from the high court. In March 73 
Jehovah's Witnesses were picked up for holding an "unlawful 
assembly," detained briefly, and released. In 1988 the 
Associated Christian Churches of Kenya, an American-based 
missionary organization, was also deregistered. 

There is no religious requirement for voting or holding office. 



163 



KENYA 

Clergymen in Kenya have spoken out on political as well as 
religious issues from their pulpits. In 1988 senior officials 
sharply criticized certain clergymen, including Anglican 
bishops Alexander Muge and Henry Okullu, for making political 
statements. Twice in July, after charging that the 
administration had shown political favoritism in distributing 
relief supplies in West Pokot, worshipers were reportedly 
prevented from attending services where Muge was to preach. 
As noted, government officials also criticized the National 
Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) , which comprises most of 
the Protestant denominations, and banned the monthly NCCK 
magazine Beyond after it ran an edition on election 
irregularities . 

d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

In general, Kenyans can travel freely within the country, 
restricted only by provisions of the Preservation of Public 
Security Act, which limit the movement of persons considered 
dangerous to the public security. These provisions are rarely 
invoked. In one instance in July, Bishop Muge was reportedly 
prevented by local police from traveling to preach at a church. 

Kenya does not prohibit emigration of its citizens, but on 
occasion does prevent citizens from traveling abroad. The 
Government sometimes refuses to return passports or issue new 
passports to people previously detained under the Preservation 
of Public Security Act. The Government does not regard the 
issuance of passports to citizens as a constitutional right 
and reserves the right to issue or deny passports at its 
discretion. In 1988 lawyer and former detainee Gibson Kamau 
Kuria was unable to get his passport back to visit the United 
States to receive a humanitarian award. The American Bar 
Association, the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Human 
Rights Watch, and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial had invited 
him to the United States to honor him for his legal 
representation of victims of human rights abuse. Kuria's wife 
and children also were unable to obtain passports to travel to 
the United States. One of Kuria's colleagues had his passport 
taken when he returned to Kenya after accepting the Robert F. 
Kennedy Memorial award on Kuria's behalf. Also in 1988, 
Nairobi businessman John Harun Mwau lost his court battle to 
regain his passport which was withdrawn in 1983. Charles 
Njonjo, a former Minister for Constitutional Affairs who lost 
his position and his passport in 1983, had his passport 
restored in 1988, and he traveled to the United Kingdom. 

During 1988 there was no known instance in which citizenship 
was revoked for political reasons. 

Kenya continues to accept refugees, despite its own high 
population growth rate and severe unemployment problems. The 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 
in 1988 Kenya provided refuge to approximately 12,000 
refugees, with more than 5,500 coming from Uganda. There are 
perhaps another 5,000 displaced persons not officially 
registered as refugees. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The Kenyan Constitution prohibits formation of any political 
party other than KANU, and President Moi and a small group of 
advisers control all major policy decisions within the 



164 



KENYA 

Government and the party. Citizens cannot, therefore, change 
the system of government or replace the party in power through 
the electoral process. Since 1964, when Kenya adopted a 
presidential system, the party's candidate for president has 
been unopposed. Moi was reelected in 1988 to a third 5-year 
term. Numerous candidates compete for party and parliamentary 
elections--also held every 5 years--but all candidates must be 
KANU members, and the national party headquarters must clear 
all candidates for political office. 

In the 1988 national elections, 17 candidates failed to win 
KANU approval to stand for elections. Several others were 
informed that they could not run because they participated in 
a commission to redraw electoral boundaries. Some candidates 
claimed that they were physically prevented from filing their 
papers. Few of the parliamentarians who had questioned 
executive policy were returned to the Assembly. Ministers and 
other deputies who are expelled from KANU automatically 
relinquish their seats in Parliament. In July two members of 
Parliament from the West Pokot district who expressed support 
for Bishop Muge ' s criticisms of local administrators were 
expelled from KANU for engaging in activities which "disturbed 
peace and security." A government official who resigned his 
portfolio in December (to protest a KANU sub-branch election 
which he claimed was rigged) subsequently was expelled from 
the party and thus from his seat in Parliament. 

For the 1988 elections, the party adopted a queuing system for 
electing KANU nominees, requiring voters to line up in public 
behind photographs of the candidates. Only those who had KANU 
membership cards were allowed to participate in the nomination 
process. Candidates who received 70 percent of the KANU vote 
were automatically elected without having to contest the 
general election. Over 60 candidates (out of a total of 188) 
were elected this way. KANU party members comprise at most 
two-thirds of the registered voter population. There was a 
low turnout in some areas. 

The public nature of the queuing process caused some concern 
about voter intimidation, but others argued that secret 
ballots were also subject to abuse. Numerous claims of 
irregularities were made during the party primary. These 
included charges that vote counts were altered by the 
administrative authorities carrying out the elections and that 
supporters of some candidates were intimidated by beatings, 
kidnapings, and police detentions. In response to an appeal 
against the queuing process, a High Court judge ruled that the 
Court could not hear cases involving alleged fraud in the KANU 
elections as this would amount to interference with the 
internal affairs of KANU. Other appeals were directed to KANU 
President Moi, who allowed one queuing vote to be repeated. 

Allegations of irregularities in the general election (by 
secret ballot) included unannounced early poll closings, 
misplaced ballot boxes, and failure to allow observation of 
ballot box closings. General election results may be appealed 
to the courts, and 25 losers formally did so. Such appeals 
are expensive, a fact which may have deterred some other 
losers. As of December 1988, none of the election appeals had 
been heard. 

Members of all ethnic groups may run for office, and ethnic 
representation at the minister and assistant minister level is 
broad. Twelve of Kenya's ethnic groups are represented in the 
Cabinet. Seventeen ethnic groups, including one Caucasian, 



165 



KENYA 

are represented at the assistant minister level. There is one 
female assistant minister, and two women hold seats in the 
National Assembly. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government rejects criticism of its human rights record 
and discourages Kenyans from providing outside human rights 
groups with information. In 1988 President Moi repeatedly 
attacked Amnesty International and other groups for meddling 
in Kenya's internal affairs. The President has accused 
certain groups, including lawyers, of being "agents of enemies 
of the country, such as Amnesty International." 

In January 1988 the authorities took action against two 
American citizens who had come to Kenya to observe an inquest 
into the death of a Mwakenya suspect (see section I.e. 
above) . The two were ordered to leave the courtroom and were 
taken into police custody where they were held and questioned 
for 8 hours. One of these was a representative of the 
Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights. Neither was allowed to 
call the U.S. Embassy. The were told by security officers 
that Kenya did not recognize the right of foreigners arrested 
in Kenya to contact their embassies. (Kenya is a signatory to 
the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.) 

Several Kenyan organizations, such as the Law Society of 
Kenya, address issues related to human rights, but none 
focuses exclusively on human rights concerns. Kenya has not 
ratified the Organization of African Unity's Human and 
Peoples' Rights Charter, adopted in 1981 in Nairobi. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Kenya is a diverse country that does not practice legal 
discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, language 
or social status. Several intertribal clashes occurred in 
northern Kenya as in previous years. Women may own property 
and businesses but remain underrepresented in educational 
institutions, government, and business, despite the emergence 
of influential women in all these areas. Statistics on 
enrollment in Kenyan universities for the 1987/88 school year 
showed that female students represented 28 percent of the 
total enrollment. Traditional culture, rather than government 
policy, has long prescribed limited roles for women. 

Women are a crucial element in the Kenyan labor force, 
especially in agriculture where they account for 75 percent of 
the total. Women are likely to retain this dominant role in 
agriculture for the near future, as there is a continuing 
migration of men to the cities in search of higher paying 
jobs. Women make up approximately 21 percent of the wage 
labor work force. They hold some 10 percent of the jobs in 
the traditionally male-dominated manufacturing sector, and 22 
percent of the jobs in the finance and insurance sectors. 
Thirty percent of Kenya's education workers are women. In the 
modern sector, women frequently earn less than men for 
comparable work. There are women's groups in Kenya which 
attempt to educate and help women attain their full rights. 

Polygamy is not legal for people married under the Christian 
Marriage Act, but it is permitted for those who marry under 



166 



KENYA 

African customary law. Kenya's Law of Succession, which 
governs inheritance rights, provides for equal treatment of 
male and female children (in contrast to much customary law 
which favors the eldest male child). Some Kenyan ethnic 
groups still practice female circumcision, although the 
Government has mounted a campaign against the practice and 
prohibits such operations in government hospitals. 

The Asian community, numbering about 65,000, accounts for a 
disproportionate share of the nation's economic wealth and 
output. The Government's policy of Africanization of the 
economy has resulted in some Asian emigration. Kenya amended 
its citizenship law in 1984, depriving some Asians and 
Europeans of citizenship. Under present law, persons born in 
Kenya of non-Kenyan parents can no longer claim citizenship. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers in Kenya, with one significant exception, enjoy the 
right of association as defined by the International Labor 
Organization (ILO). The Government, however, has a decisive 
role on some important labor issues. The one group which 
cannot organize is civil servants, whose union was disbanded 
by the authorities in the early 1980's. Since 1985 all 
civi Iservants have moreover been required to be members of the 
ruling KANU party. Other workers, according to law, can 
establish and join organizations of their choosing, make their 
own rules, elect their own leaders, join with other unions, 
and affiliate with international organizations. Union 
registration is controlled by a registrar in the Attorney 
General's office. In 1987, at the suggestion of a committee 
made up of representatives of the Ministry of Labor, the 
Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) , and the 
Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE) , several unions were 
proposed for deregistration . In June 1988, the Government 
deregistered the Kenya Timber and Furniture Workers' Union. 
The stated purpose of these amalgamations was to eliminate 
unions which were too small to be financially viable and to 
avoid conflicts of jurisdiction. 

COTU, which is Kenya's legally mandated trade union 
federation, is affiliated with the Organization of African 
Trade Union Unity and maintains relations, though not 
affiliation, with the International Confederation of Free 
Trade Unions (ICFTU). It sends observers to ICFTU and World 
Federation of Trade Unions meetings. Both COTU and the FKE 
participate in the ILO. 

There are approximately 1.3 million wage earners in Kenya, out 
of an estimated 8-mi llion-person work force. COTU has about 
360,000 members and another 100,000 workers belong to the 
Kenya National Union of Teachers which is not part of COTU. 
COTU is strong in such areas as the docks, railroads, banking, 
and telecommunications, but weak in agriculture, by far 
Kenya's largest employment sector. 

Though unions enjoy relative autonomy from the Government and 
the ruling party, there are limits. In July-August, when the 
head of the dockworkers' union was involved in an apparent 
conflict of interest between his union job and his private 
business interests, the Government and party called for his 
resignation. He resigned and was replaced in new union 



167 



KENYA 

elections. In September President Moi suggested that KANU 
study ways of affiliating COTU with the party. 

Kenyan unions have the right to strike, but the nation's 
industrial relations machinery makes it almost impossible to 
do so legally. Unions are required to give notice of intent, 
register their grievances with the industrial court, and 
exhaust all possible avenues of resolution before striking. 
Consequently, most strikes are illegal, short-lived, and 
local. In 1987 there were 109 strikes with 93,749 workdays 
lost. Kenya's industrial court has a reputation for 
objectivity and is strongly supported by unions as well as 
employers . 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Labor laws apply uniformly throughout the country. Except for 
civil servants, Kenyan workers are free to organize and 
bargain collectively. The Government promotes voluntary 
negotiations between employers and workers' organizations, and 
the EKE actively cooperates. Both in law and in practice, 
union officials are protected against antiunion 
discrimination. There are no export processing zones in Kenya. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Under the Chief's Act, a local authority can require the 
performance of limited communal activities for the benefit of 
the local community. While this provision is rarely invoked, 
the ILO Committee of Experts has called on the Government to 
bring this Act into conformity with the ILO Conventions on 
forced labor and has noted that discussions are at an advanced 
stage for the introduction of the necessary amendments. There 
are, however, a number of provisions in other legislation 
(e.g.. Penal Code, Public Order Act, Prohibited Publications 
Order, Merchant Shipping Act, and the Trade Disputes Act) 
which the Committee has found to be inconsistent with the 
Conventions . 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The legal minimum age for employment in mines, factories, 
transportation, and construction is 18. Kenyan labor law 
permits children under 18 to be employed in these occupations 
if they are family-run businesses and are not dangerous. 
There are no legal restrictions on child labor in agriculture 
where many younger people help out on family farms. Some 
children also are employed as servants. The Ministry of Labor 
has difficulty enforcing minimum age laws. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Kenya's population, with an average growth rate around 4 
percent, is expected to reach 24 million by the end of 1988 
and to double by the end of the century. Urbanization has 
accelerated rapidly, although approximately 75 percent of 
Kenyans continue to live in rural areas, many as subsistence 
farmers. There is adequate legislation in the Factories Act 
to provide acceptable and safe working conditions for 
factories, the construction industry, and the docks, but its 
understaffed inspectorate is often unable to enforce 
compliance. The law contains inadequate safeguards for 
agricultural workers, especially in the use of potentially 
carcinogenic pesticides. 



168 



KENYA 

The maximum legal workweek is 52 hours, but many workers put 
in longer hours. As an example, security guards, an important 
and growing sector, often work as many as 84 hours a week. 
Kenyan law provides for at least 1 rest day a week, paid sick 
leave, paid annual leave, and holidays. Abuses occur, 
especially among temporary workers (known as "casuals"), who 
make up at least 13.4 percent of Kenya's wage-earning work 
force . 

The legal minimum wage varies according to occupation, age, 
and location. It ranges from about $15 per month for a rural, 
unskilled laborer under age 18 to about $85 per month for a 
cashier in Nairobi or Mombasa. The Government has had 
difficulty enforcing minimum wage requirements and many 
workers receive less than their due. Since most Kenyans do 
not receive wages for their work, they are not covered by 
minimum wage legislation. Many families eke out a decent 
living with one or more family members earning a wage while 
other members work as subsistence farmers. 

There is a National Social Security Fund, administered jointly 
by the Government, COTU, and the FKE, which pays lump-sum 
benefits to those covered when they retire. 



169 



LESOTHO 



Since a 1986 coup, a Six-member Military Council, led by Major 
General J. M. Lekhanya, has ruled Lesotho. The Military 
Council formally conferred all legislative and executive power 
on Moshoeshoe II, the previously powerless King of Lesotho. 
The Military Council and the King rule by decree; however, an 
appointed Council of Ministers, which includes civilians, 
administers the day-to-day operations of government. During 
1988 the military regime continued its ban on "political 
activity," giving no indication when Lesotho might revert to 
constitutional rule, which was abolished by former prime 
minister Jonathan in 1970. 

The Lesotho Paramilitary Force (LPF) of about 2,000 troops is 
responsible for internal and external security. The LPF is 
assisted by a small police force. Public security 
deteriorated in 1988 with the outbreak of widespread criminal 
activity and with many reports of police indiscipline and 
abuses of authority. 

A landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa, 
Lesotho is almost entirely dependent on its neighbor for 
trade, finance, employment, and access to the outside world. 
About half of the male labor force is employed in South 
Africa's mines, and remittances from workers (more than $150 
million annually) are a critical factor in the economy, 
especially in financing imports. Lesotho is also a member of 
the Southern African Customs Union which groups together 
Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and South Africa in a common 
tariff union and free trade zone. The South African currency 
circulates freely in Lesotho and is on a par with the local 
currency as a result of Lesotho's membership in the rand 
monetary area. With South African assistance, the gigantic 
($2 billion) hydroelectric Lesotho Highlands Water Project 
finally moved toward the implementation stage in 1988. 

In 1988 human rights continued to be tightly circumscribed 
under the military Government. In a possibly significant 
breakthrough, Ntsu Mokhehle, the aging exiled leader of the 
Basotho Congress Party (BCP) , returned to Lesotho for the 
first time in more than 14 years for direct talks with the 
Government about conditions for national reconciliation. 
While no settlement was reached, Mokhehle and the Government 
pledged to continue the dialog. In February the Government 
imposed a State of Emergency (SOE) due to a dramatic increase 
in often violent criminal activity, including armed robberies 
and cattle rustling. It was renewed in August for another 6 
months. The SOE gave the police broad powers of arrest, 
search, and seizure without a warrant. It also contained an 
indemnity clause to shield the police against legal action 
brought against them for actions taken under the emergency 
regulations. The Government used its new powers forcefully to 
crack down on criminal activity, and in the process reportedly 
arrested a number of persons and sometimes used excessive 
force in interrogating suspects. Lesotho's judiciary remained 
vigorous, and the High Court annulled the SOE in April on a 
procedural technicality. (The Government quickly removed the 
technicality and reinstituted the SOE on April 29.) There 
were several unexplained killings with political implications 
of persons in police custody in 1988. The Government took no 
known disciplinary action against law enforcement officials 
for illegal acts under the emergency regulations. 



170 



LESOTHO 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killings 

A government investigation failed to identify the perpetrators 
or provide details of the brutal 1986 murders of former 
Ministers of Information and Foreign Affairs, Desmond Sixishe 
and Vincent Makhele and their wives. Similarly, there were no 
further revelations concerning the deaths in March 1986 of two 
senior Royal Lesotho Defense Force officers who had opposed 
the coup and who subsequently died while in official custody 
on charges related to events during the 1986 coup. Inquest 
reports, dated November 25, 1986, concluded that the two 
officers died from injuries sustained while in custody, 
including in one case severe burns to the victim's body. The 
Maseru Magistrate Court indicated, however, that it was unable 
to identify the person or persons responsible for these acts. 

A reputed member of the African National Congress (ANC) , 
Mazizi Maqekeza, was shot and killed in his hospital bed on 
March 15 while undergoing treatment for a wound he sustained 
in a February 25 shootout with Lesotho police. The motives 
and identity of the killer were not determined, although South 
African involvement was suspected. Another suspected ANC 
member was killed in the February shootout. 

Samuel Nhlapho, one of four hijackers of a bus carrying 71 
passengers, including Catholic nuns and children, was captured 
by police following a bloody shootout which also involved 
South African commandos and Lesotho security forces. The 
captured hijacker, who was allegedly a member of a renegade 
faction of the Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) , the military 
wing of the BCP, died while in official custody. His three 
accomplices and two hostages were killed in an exchange of 
fire when the bus was stormed. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known instances of politically motivated 
disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment. 

The State of- Emergency gave the police extensive powers of 
arrest, search, and seizure without a warrant, and led to a 
reputed decline in police discipline. The police exercised 
these powers arbitrarily in some cases. In particular, there 
were frequent reports of beatings and harsh interrogation of 
suspects during the period of heightened criminal activities, 
which peaked in July. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

During the SOE, established procedures remained in effect for 
normal civil and some criminal cases, including the right of a 
detainee to an early determination of the legality of his 
detention. The 1981 Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act, as 
amended in 1984, makes provision for the granting of bail. 
Under the Act, the High Court is the only judicial body 
empowered to grant bail in cases of armed robbery or suspected 
homicide . 



171 



LESOTHO 

SOE regulations superseded the Criminal Procedures and 
Evidence Act in certain categories of crime. Specifically, 
the SOE listed armed robbery, burglary, car theft, and 
livestock theft as offenses against which emergency powers 
were directed. Under emergency regulations, police can arrest 
and detain a suspect without warrant or charge up to 14 days. 
They may also conduct searches and seize suspected stolen 
goods without a warrant. On his written order, the Minister 
of Defense and Internal Security may detain a suspect 
indefinitely without trial. The security authorities used SOE 
powers widely to arrest and interrogate criminal suspects. 

In political cases, the Internal Security (general) Act of 
1984 applies. This Act provides for preventive detention 
without charge or trial for up to 42 days (the first 14 days 
on order of the police; the second 14 days on order of the 
police commissioner; and the final 14 days only on order of a 
government minister) . Detainees may be held incommunicado for 
up to 14 days. During the second stage of the detention, 
ministerially appointed "advisors" (all government employees 
to date) report on the health of the detainee, investigate 
whether the detainee has been involved in subversive 
activities, and advise the Minister of Defense and Internal 
Security on the need for continued detention. Detainees under 
the Act may make representations on their own treatment only 
through the advisor. The 1984 Internal Security Act also 
allows for detention of witnesses in security cases. 

At the end of 1988, there were no known political prisoners in 
Lesotho. Despite the broad provisions of SOE regulations and 
the Internal Security Act, cases of detention for political 
purposes were rare. Since enactment of the SOE in February, 
only a handful of detention orders (only six are known) were 
issued, and these were successfully challenged in court, 
normally within a day or two. None was issued by the Minister 
of Internal Security, under either the Internal Security Act 
or the SOE. 

The military Government's general amnesty for exiled Basotho 
remained in effect. An unspecified number of exiles returned 
in 1988, but significant numbers remained outside the country, 
primarily in South Africa. The Government publicly declared 
that all Basotho citizens are free to return without fear of 
retaliation for past activities, and it reportedly gave this 
assurance to Ntsu Mokhehle during May 20 discussions in 
Maseru. At the end of 1988, negotiations between Mokhehle and 
the Government were continuing over precise conditions, which 
from the government side included the demand that Mokhehle and 
his exiled supporters not engage in politics. Religious 
leaders, reflecting a public desire for national 
reconciliation, became deeply involved in the negotiations 
(see Section 2 .c . ) . 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The judiciary consists of a Court of Appeal, the High Court, 
magistrate courts, and customary or traditional courts which 
exist largely in rural areas to administer customary tribal 
laws. The courts have acted to limit infringements of law on 
numerous occasions in past years, as in the case of its April 
15 annulment of the State of Emergency on procedural grounds. 
Court decisions and rulings are respected by the authorities. 
Accused persons have the right to counsel and public trial. 



172 



LESOTHO 

Under the system of Roman-Dutch law applied in Lesotho, there 
is no trial by jury. Members of the High Court serve in an 
advisory capacity to military tribunals and provide guidance 
on questions of legal procedure and substance. This service 
is available to both prosecutors and the accused. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Both State of Emergency regulations and the Internal Security 
Act provide police with wide powers to stop and search persons 
and vehicles and to enter homes or other places for a similar 
purpose without a warrant. In general, the military 
Government has had a better record of respect for these 
individual rights than the previous civilian regime. In 1988, 
however, there were increased numbers of violations of 
individual privacy by state authorities, according to local 
opposition press reports. Lesotho's most celebrated case of 
1988 involved alleged police raids on the homes of two local 
businessmen and their legal counsel suspected of SOE 
violations . 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Human Rights Act of 1983 provides for freedom of 
expression but subordinates this freedom to the protection of 
national security. Following the January 1986 coup, a formal 
ban on politics was announced. This placed stringent 
restrictions on freedom of speech and political assembly. In 
particular, government edict no. 4 prohibits individuals and 
groups from making political speeches and from publishing or 
distributing political party materials. In spite of this ban, 
numerous persons met privately to discuss politics, and 
leaders of Lesotho's five principal political parties made 
joint public statements in 1988 criticizing the military 
Government and calling for an immediate restoration of 
civilian rule, including if necessary with outside 
intervention in Lesotho's domestic affairs. Municipal 
elections will be held in January 1989 and may provide an 
indication of how smoothly Lesotho can return to civilian 
rule. The military Government made no attempt in 1988 to 
inhibit such political discussion, and there were no known 
reprisals . 

Opposition viewpoints were routinely expressed in two 
Sesotho-language weekly newspapers published by the Roman 
Catholic Church and the Lesotho Evangelical Church, but the 
editor of the Mirror Newspaper, reportedly a South African 
national, was deported m December. A new privately owned 
English language newspaper started publication in 1988 and was 
very critical of the Government. The Government controls the 
official media (one radio station and a weekly newspaper) and 
ensures that they faithfully reflect government views. 
However, the Government rarely used them to attack its critics, 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The military Government's ban on "politics" was not 
interpreted to require the dissolution of existing political 
parties, but the ban does preclude political meetings and 
rallies. Nonpolitical organizations and professional groups 
continued to hold regular meetings. 



173 



LESOTHO 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no state religion in Lesotho. Free and open 
religious practice is permitted and even encouraged. 
Christianity is the dominant faith of the majority of Basotho, 
with the principal denomination being Roman Catholic. There 
is a significant Protestant minority as well, which is 
composed of the Lesotho Evangelical Church, the Anglican 
Church, and a number of other smaller denominations. 

Conversion is permitted, and there is no apparent social or 
political benefit or stigma attached to belonging to any 
particular church. There are no bars on missionary activity 
or work by foreign clergy. Churches play a large role in the 
administration of Lesotho's primary and secondary education 
system and are responsible for the day-to-day operation of 
most schools. In 1988 there was disagreement between the 
Government and the major churches over the exclusionary 
admissions policies of certain parochial schools. 

Most church groups support the military Government's call for 
national reconciliation, and religious leaders from the major 
denominations have been outspoken in asking the Government to 
redouble its efforts to reintegrate Ntsu Mokhehle and his 
exiled LLA into the country's political life. Church leaders 
are also determined to participate directly in the 
reconciliation efforts, but the Government has increasingly 
resisted church involvement in the process--presumably because 
some of the church leaders often supported Mokhehle' s 
positions--and in May the Government suspended its 2-year 
dialog with religious leaders on this political issue. It 
called on church leaders to patch up their own differences 
before the church-state dialog could be resumed. The 
Government briefly detained several church leaders at the 
border in October on their return from South Africa where 
allegedly they had met with Mokhehle. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Citizens generally are allowed to move freely within the 
country and across national boundaries, although the 
Government does not hesitate to restrict passports in 
political cases, as in the case of a trade union official in 
1987 (see Section 6. a.). 

The refugee flow from South Africa slowed markedly in 1988 to 
only a few refugees per month. These persons have been 
accorded fair treatment, in line with Lesotho's international 
obligations. Those refugees affiliated with South African 
liberation groups are given expeditious transit to third 
countries for resettlement. Some 350 refugees without such 
affiliation have been allowed to resettle in Lesotho. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The Basotho people currently do not have the freedom to 
replace the existing regime, nor do they play an active role 
in the governing process. The military Government, which 
assumed power in January 1986, announced that it intends to 
remain in place until a process of national reconciliation is 



174 



LESOTHO 

completed. No time frame for this process has been announced, 
nor has any schedule been set for return to civilian rule, 
elections, or constitutional revision. In contrast to the 
past, there was very little discussion in 1988 of an elected 
national council as a first step toward constitutional 
government, but the Government has begun a process of local 
elections starting with the Maseru district elections in 
January 1989. 

The highest ranking woman in the Government is the Minister of 
State for Youth and Women's Affairs. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has been unresponsive on human rights matters. 
It ignored the call in April by representatives of Lesotho's 
five political opposition parties for Amnesty International, 
the Organization of African Unity, and certain members of the 
British Commonwealth to investigate alleged human rights 
violations under the SOE . The opposition call was made 
following the High Court's abrogation of the SOE on the basis 
that it was not promulgated according to established legal 
procedures . 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social status 

Most citizens of the Basotho nation speak a common language 
and share a common historical and cultural tradition. 
Nonindigenous citizens have generally married into the Basotho 
ethnic group, which tends to be inclusive and assimilative in 
character. Expatriate communities are small and not 
considered to be a major factor in the country's political 
life. Asians (primarily ethnic Chinese and Indians) and white 
South Africans are active in the country's commercial sector 
and are less favored than Basotho nationals. The military 
Government has announced a policy aimed at " indigenization" of 
the country's retail commercial sector and has called upon 
expatriate owners to transfer their businesses to Basotho 
nationals. It is unclear whether this transfer would involve 
compensation. Exiles from South Africa have from time to time 
encountered some discrimination, since they are often viewed 
as magnets for real or imagined South African political or 
armed intervention. 

The Government has not yet seriously addressed the issue of 
women's rights. In Lesotho these rights are limited by law 
and custom, including in the areas of property and contracts. 
For example, a married woman cannot apply for a loan without 
her husband's written consent. Despite their secondary 
status, women in Lesotho traditionally have been the 
stabilizing force in the home and in the agricultural sector, 
given the absence of over 100,000 Basotho men who work in 
South Africa. More female than male children complete primary 
and secondary schools. Women are strongly represented in all 
professions . 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Lesotho is a party to the 1948 International Labor 
Organization (ILO) Convention on Freedom of Association and 



175 



LESOTHO 

has also adopted most other ILO conventions dealing with 
worker rights. The imposition of the SOE in 1988 did not 
affect worker or trade union rights. 

The previous Government supported the formation of a new 
umbrella trade union confederation. Subsequently, 24 of 
Lesotho's 28 independent trade unions formed the Lesotho 
Confederation of Free Trade Unions (LCFTU) which held its 
first convention in May 1985. The military Government 
supported non-LCFTU unions in the formation of another 
federation, the Lesotho Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU) . In 
1987 the military Government designated the LFTU, the much 
smaller federation, to represent Lesotho at the ILO annual 
conference in Geneva. 

The problem of which union should represent Lesotho at 
international labor conf erences--the LCFTU or the 
LFTU--surf aced again in 1988. After its proposal for 
rotational representation was rejected, the Government decided 
that neither federation would be allowed to represent workers 
at the 1988 ILO conference. Since then the Government has 
pressed for accommodation between the two rival federations to 
form a single national labor confederation. Results of this 
effort remained unclear at the end of the year. 

While a legal right to strike exists for workers in 
nonessential services, in practice the procedure for calling a 
strike is so lengthy and cumbersome that it discourages legal 
strike actions and accounts for the prevalence of wildcat 
strikes. The 1964 Trade Union and Trade Disputes Law 
enumerates lengthy procedures which must be followed before a 
strike is called. The last general strike was in 1961. There 
were several wildcat strikes in 1987 and 1988 against foreign, 
export-oriented companies linked to the Lesotho National 
Development Corporation (LNDC) over minimum wage rates. These 
strikes normally ended in compromise and were generally of 
short duration. The latest wildcat strike took place in 
September. There was a subsequent wildcat strike at the 
Lesotho flour mills, a state-owned corporation, during which 
more than 300 employees were dismissed. The Government 
declared the strike illegal and instructed workers and 
management to engage in negotiations which resulted in a 5 
percent wage increase for workers. 

The LCFTU is a member of the Southern African Trade Union 
Coordination Council, the Organization of African Trade Union 
Unity, and the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions. Lesotho authorities confiscated the passport of LCFTU 
Secretary General Simon Jonathan in June 1987 when he returned 
from the ILO conference where he challenged the credentials of 
the government-appointed labor representatives to the ILO 
annual meeting. The Government's prohibition on Jonathan's 
travel ended in March, and he is now free to travel abroad. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

All trade unions in Lesotho enjoy the right to organize and 
bargain collectively.. These rights were established in the 
1964 Act and in the 1967 Employment Act, as amended in 1977. 
There is also an unfair labor practices tribunal whose mandate 
is to investigate unfair labor practices and safeguard worker 
rights. A government-appointed labor commission is also 
charged with, inter alia, monitoring wage and working 
conditions, and accepting, reviewing, and investigating worker 
complaints. Efforts are now underway, with assistance from 



176 



LESOTHO 

the ILO, to reform Lesotho's outdated industrial relations 
system. Lesotho has several industrial estates grouping 
together companies, mostly textile and apparel firms, engaged 
in manufacturing for export. There are no prohibitions 
against organized labor in these export zones, and labor laws 
are applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibitions of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There are no forced or compulsory labor practices in Lesotho. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children. 

Sixteen is the legal minimum age for employment. In practice, 
however, children under 16 may be employed in family-owned 
businesses. There are prohibitions against the employment of 
working age minors in commercial, industrial, or nonfamily 
enterprises involving hazardous or dangerous working 
conditions. Basotho minors under 18 years may not be 
recruited for employment outside of Lesotho. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Roughly 60 percent of Lesotho's active male labor force works 
in the Republic of South Africa, mainly in gold and coal 
mines. At least 70 percent of the remainder are engaged in 
traditional agriculture. The rest are employed mainly by the 
Government and in small industries in Lesotho. A majority of 
Basotho mineworkers are members of the South African National 
Union of Mineworkers (NUM) . Because the NUM is an 
extraterritorial worker organization, it is not permitted to 
engage in union activities in Lesotho. 

Lesotho's 1967 Employment Act spells out basic worker rights, 
including a 45-hour workweek, a weekly rest period of least 24 
hours, 11 to 12 days' paid leave per year, and pay for public 
holidays. Employers are required to provide adequate light, 
ventilation, and sanitary facilities for employees, and to 
install and maintain machinery to minimize the risk of 
injury. In practice, these regulations are generally followed 
only within the wage economy. Enforcement mechanisms, 
however, are weak. With help from the ILO, the Government is 
in the process of revising its national occupational and 
health safety standards. 

Wages in Lesotho are extremely low. The Government sets 
minimum wages for various types of work, ranging from $48 a 
month for light unskilled labor to $93 dollars a month for 
semiskilled jobs, both well below the poverty line of about 
$146 per month. The present wage schedule was established by 
a tripartite wages advisory board in 1987 as an interim 
measure. Government salaries were increased in 1988, and 
there are growing pressures for an increase in minimum wages. 
Many employers in Lesotho now pay more than minimum wages in 
an effort to attract and retain motivated employees. 

In the nation's traditional society, life and working 
conditions for the country's young "herdboys" tend to be much 
more rigorous and demanding than conditions in the modern 
sector. Their quasi-pastoral life, however, is considered a 
prerequisite to eventual manhood and is a fundamental feature 
of Sotho life, tradition, and culture. 



177 



LIBERIA 



The Liberian Constitution provides for a U.S. -style system of 
democratic government and guaranteed rights and freedoms for 
the individual. In practice, the legacy of recent military 
rule and the tradition of strong executive authority continue 
to prevent fulfillment of that ideal. Samuel K. Doe, who 
headed the military government which ruled from 1980 until the 
establishment of the second republic in January 1986, became 
President after elections in which his claim of a narrow 
victory was widely believed to have been a fabrication. He 
and his ruling party, the National Democratic Party of Liberia 
(NDPL) , dominate Liberian political life. Three opposition 
parties are recognized and permitted to function. Of these, 
one participates in electoral politics and two continue to 
boycott the Government and legislature to protest the 1985 
elections . 

While Liberia is now ruled by a civilian government, the army 
continues to be a bulwark of the current administration. 
Liberia's armed forces number about 7,000 and are engaged 
mainly in guarding border crossings and fulfilling certain 
internal security functions. The lack of military discipline, 
especially among poorly paid enlisted men, has resulted in 
some petty harassment of civilians. A small police force 
assists the armed forces in maintaining domestic order. 
President Doe has a personal bodyguard-militia, the Executive 
Mansion Guard, which includes the Special Antiterrorist Unit 
(SATU) . 

Liberia's mixed economy is based primarily on traditional 
agriculture and exports of iron ore, rubber, and timber. It 
continues to suffer from foreign exchange shortages, widespread 
corruption, a crushing debt burden, and governmental 
mismanagement. Nonetheless, in 1988 indications emerged that 
the long economic decline may have bottomed out, and some 
sectors, such as rubber, were expanding. Seventeen U.S. 
government-funded financial experts were assigned to positions 
within the Government with operational responsibility to 
improve management of government finances. Although this 
project met with some successes, it was terminated at the end 
of the year due to continuing dissatisfaction about the level 
of extra-budgetary revenues and expenditures. 

The trend towards improved human rights observance since the 
resumption of civilian rule in 1986 was set back in 1988 by 
several adverse developments. The independent press has grown 
bolder in its reporting and editorial content, but the 
Government countered in April by detaining several journalists 
and by suspending two independent newspapers and one party 
newsletter for articles critical of the Government. Political 
parties have been allowed to operate and propogate their views 
publicly. The ruling NDPL engaged opposition parties in 
discussions on possible power-sharing, but it did not give 
ground on a key issue in the political dialog--restructuring 
the Elections Commission (now controlled by President Doe's 
life-time appointees) which oversees the voting process. 
Within the military, better discipline has led to a decrease 
in incidents of harassment of civilians. The Government's 
response to two new coup attempts was relatively restrained 
(there were no outbursts of officially tolerated violence as 
in November 1985). However, several of the alleged 
conspirators, including Nicholas Podier, former Vice Head of 
State, died under unexplained circumstances while in 
government custody. Others detained in 1988, including 



178 



LIBERIA 

William Kpoleh, former presidential candidate of the defunct 
Liberian Unification Party, and two American citizens, were 
held for weeks without charge and without access to legal 
counsel. Events leading to the trial of Kpoleh and nine 
others raised serious questions about the administration of 
justice and executive branch willingness to respect the 
independence of the judiciary. The NDPL-controlled 
legislature, which has shown signs of assertiveness in 
reviewing appointments and international agreements, 
acquiesced, almost without debate, in an amendment to drop the 
constitutional limitation on two terms for the Presidency. 
The Government also hit at the right of association by banning 
all student organizations and continuing restrictions on 
worker rights to unionize. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

In two separate incidents in 1988, persons linked with alleged 
coup attempts against the Government died under questionable 
circumstances. In March the leader of an alleged plot to 
assassinate President Doe and overthrow the Government died in 
a fall from the sixth-floor balcony of the executive mansion, 
reportedly while being interrogated regarding his role in the 
plot. The Government reported the death as a suicide. In 
July the Government announced that a group of 11 foreign-based 
dissidents, led by Nicholas Podier, former Vice Head of State, 
had infiltrated the country and been intercepted by security 
forces in Nimba County. The Government claimed that several, 
including Podier, were killed in a firefight, but it is 
generally believed that they had been captured and summarily 
executed. Three of the infiltrators, including two Americans, 
were charged with treason. They were released in November 
after writing a letter to President Doe apologizing for their 
involvement with Podier. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There were no reports of officially conducted torture in 
1988. However, brutality by police and other security 
officials during the arrest and questioning of individuals is 
fairly common, and there have been no evident government 
efforts to halt this practice. In July Liberian security 
personnel reportedly beat and confiscated the property of 
several dozen Sierra Leonean nationals resident in Monrovia, 
many of whom were later deported for immigration violations. 
The beatings and deportations occurred following an altercation 
in a Monrovia bar frequented by Sierra Leoneans which resulted 
in the death of a Liberian soldier. The Sierra Leonean 
Government formally protested the mistreatment of its citizens 
at the hands of Liberian authorities. 

Prison conditions, which have been bad for decades, did not 
improve in 1988. Cells are often small and without light or 
ventilation. Food, exercise opportunities, and sanitary 
facilities are grossly inadequate. The maximum security 



179 



LIBERIA 

prison at Belle Yella in remote Lofa County is notorious for 
its brutal regimen. There have been unconfirmed allegations 
of deaths in recent years at Belle Yella due to starvation, 
lack of medical treatment, and mistreatment by prison guards. 
Because most of the prisoners are held incommunicado, these 
allegations cannot be confirmed. Several recent detainees at 
the Barclay Training Center (BTC) post stockade in Monrovia, 
which is located in the middle of a military facility, have 
described appalling sanitary conditions at the prison, 
including cells befouled through lack of proper sanitary 
facilities. Although the Constitution states that civilians 
may not be confined in any military facility, this provision 
is frequently ignored. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Although police are supposed to have a warrant for arrests, 
and persons should be charged or released within 48 hours, 
these constitutional provisions are frequently ignored in 
practice, particularly in cases involving alleged security 
threats or violations. In March 10 persons arrested in 
connection with an alleged assassination/coup plot were held 
for 2 weeks before being charged with treason. From April 
through August they were held at the BTC post stockade without 
access to family or legal counsel. Five journalists accused 
of publishing articles to which the Government took exception 
were detained without formal charge for several days in April. 
In July the Government detained at least five persons for 
alleged involvement in the Podier "invasion." Three, including 
two American citizens who were allegedly captured with Podier, 
were held for 7 weeks before being charged with treason. Two 
others, said to be assisting the Government in its 
investigation, remain in custody. A Liberian, who is 
reportedly related to a prominent political exile, was 
questioned and detained shortly after returning to Liberia 
carrying a large sum of money. He was later transferred to 
Belle Yella prison, where he is still being held without 
charge. The Government has disregarded two separate legal 
writs filed by his lawyers asking that the judiciary rule on 
the legality of his detention. 

In many cases, prolonged detention of persons without charge 
occurs as a result of judicial inefficiency and administrative 
neglect. Reports surface from time to time that many of those 
in Liberian prisons have been "forgotten" by the judicial 
system and continue to remain in prison although they have 
never been tried. 

Charges of short-term detention as a means of harassment were 
raised in the case of former Chief Justice Chea Cheapoo, 
cocounsel for a number of treason defendants, when he was 
arrested shortly before he was to appear in court for a 
pretrial hearing. He was not allowed to participate in the 
hearings but was released shortly thereafter. 

In March the Justice Minister provoked a brief national debate 
over the legal rights of detained persons when he called for 
an amendment to the Constitution to restrict due process. A 
constitutional amendment was subsequently proposed in the 
legislature to restrict the right of habeas corpus in certain 
circumstances. The legislature adjourned in July without 
taking action on the bill. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 



180 



LIBERIA 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Liberia's civilian court system is based on Anglo-American 
jurisprudence and features similar judicial bodies, with the 
Supreme Court at its apex. The Constitution provides for 
public trials and states that there shall be no interference 
with the lawyer-client relationship. Nonetheless, the judicial 
system is often subject to manipulation, and reports of 
financial or political pressure on the courts are common. 
Despite constitutional provisions for separation of powers, 
the judiciary has a history of not challenging the wishes of 
the executive. Court orders are not always implemented by 
executive agencies. For example, in June prison authorities 
ignored a court order to transfer from a military to a civilian 
prison the 10 persons arrested in connection with the abortive 
March coup plot. When summoned to show cause for disregarding 
the court's order, the Justice and Defense Ministers 
successfully persuaded the court that the BTC post stockade is 
not a military facility, although they pledged to allow the 
defendants' lawyers and relatives access to the post stockade. 
One month later, when it became evident that authorities at 
the post stockade had not allowed such access, the court once 
again ordered the defendants transferred. This second order 
was executed. 

Persons have the right to legal counsel and to bail in 
noncapital offenses. When the accused is unable to secure his 
own lawyer, the court is required to provide legal services, 
although a lack of resources limits this practice to those 
accused of "serious" offenses. Litigants have the right to 
appeal. Traditional courts, presided over by tribal chiefs, 
are not bound by common law or conventional judicial 
principles; they apply customary and unwritten law to domestic 
and land disputes as well as petty crimes. These decisions 
may be reviewed in the statutory court system or appealed to a 
hierarchy of chiefs. Administrative review by the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs and, in some cases, a final review by the 
President, may follow. Allegations of corruption and 
incompetence in the traditional courts are common. 

There were no known political prisoners in Liberia in 1988. 
However, among those arrested and tried in connection with the 
abortive March coup plot were William Gabriel Kpoleh, former 
standard-bearer of the now-defunct Liberian Unification Party, 
and Cephar Mabande, the former party's legal counsel. In a 
trial lasting 2 months, Kpoleh and the nine others received 
10-year sentences in October. The trial v/as open to the 
public, covered well in the media, and the defendants, assisted 
by legal counsel, were able to make lengthy statements in 
their behalf. However, the pretrial and trial handling point 
up many flaws in the Liberian justice system, e.g., prolonged 
detention without charge and without legal or family access 
for many months, executive branch defiance of court orders, 
detention of civilians in military facilities, and jury 
irregularities. At the end of 1988, the case was under appeal 
to the Supreme Court. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Although the political and military leadership demonstrated a 
heightened sensitivity to problems arising out of military 
indiscipline, military harassment and intimidation of civilians 
remained a continuing problem, reflecting a general lack of 
professionalism among poorly paid enlisted men. This surfaced 



181 



LIBERIA 

in random shakedowns of civilians and arbitrary interrogations 
which, in some instances, resulted in violence. In January a 
soldier killed a latrine worker in Monrovia following a petty 
dispute. In June five soldiers injured two civilians in a 
land dispute. The persons responsible for these two incidents 
were promptly identified and action taken against them. The 
soldier responsible for killing the latrine worker was 
discharged and turned over to competent civilian authorities 
for prosecution, but by the end of the year it was unclear 
whether charges had been filed against him. The soldiers who 
wounded the civilians were disciplined by military 
authorities--all were given 1 month at hard labor, and one was 
reduced in rank and ordered to pay medical expenses for the 
victims . 

Interference by civil and military authorities in the lives of 
ordinary citizens occurs on a wider scale in rural areas, 
where these local officials wield considerable power over 
day-to-day activities of people and proper police and judicial 
procedures are less likely to be followed. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and the Press 

The Constitution includes provisions for freedom of expression, 
including freedom of speech and of the press, but also 
stipulates that persons be held "fully responsible for the 
abuse" of this right. Decree 88a, passed by the military 
government in 1984, declares the spread of "rumors, lies, and 
disinformation" to be a felony. Although this decree is 
widely believed to be unconstitutional, it has not been 
revoked or challenged in court and is therefore technically 
still in force. Government authorities have not invoked the 
decree in the past 4 years, and no one has ever been convicted 
of a violation of it. 

The Liberian press is lively, and, despite some degree of 
self-censorship, opposition viewpoints are presented, even on 
government radio and television. All media refrain from 
direct attacks on the President and certain other senior 
government officials. As many as seven independent newspapers 
appeared in Monrovia in 1988, though seldom did more than five 
publish on any given day. The one government-controlled 
newspaper appears irregularly. 

Although the last few years have witnessed a general 
improvement in the quantity and breadth of discourse on 
national issues, this trend suffered some significant 
reversals in 1988. In February the Government suspended 
publication of one party newsletter after it reprinted 
articles from an exile publication originating in the United 
States calling for "mass action" to undermine the current 
Government. Following what the Government considered to be 
critical reporting on the coup attempt in March, the 
Government put economic pressure on several independent 
newspapers by shutting off their utilities and discontinuing 
government advertising. In April the Government suspended the 
independent newspapers The Sun Times and Footprints Today. 
The Sun Times had published information concerning the arrest 
of a person bearing arms and explosives and an unrelated story 
concerning the replacement of the commander of the Special 
Antiterrorist Unit (SATU) , and had refused to reveal its 
sources for these stories when questioned by the Government 
about them. Footprints Today had printed a letter to the 



182 



LIBERIA 

editor by an author using a pseudonym accusing the Government 
of a variety of human rights violations. Five journalists 
from the two newspapers were detained and held without charge 
for several days in connection with the offending articles, 
and one of the journalists was dragged down a flight of 
stairs. The remaining independent press staged a 1-week 
"press blackout" to protest the newspaper suspensions and the 
Government's harassment. The two suspended newspapers have 
not been authorized to resume publication. 

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has spoken out publicly 
against the newspaper suspensions and other perceived 
government restrictions on journalists. For example, in July 
the PUL lodged a protest with the Government after security 
officials threatened one of its members when he refused to 
divulge the source of a news story. The PUL also continued to 
call for the revocation of Decree 88a as an undue restriction 
on freedom of speech and to object to mandatory official 
accreditation of journalists as a form of prior restraint. In 
October, after months of negotiations, the Government agreed 
to involve the PUL in the accreditation process, although it 
reserved to itself the right to accredit government-employed 
journalists . 

No foreign publications are officially banned. The magazine 
West Africa discontinued official sales in Liberia late in 
1985 after government officials confiscated incoming 
consignments of the publication reporting on the aborted 
November 1985 coup attempt. Individual copies, however, 
continue to circulate widely. The Minister of Information, 
Emanuel Bowier, announced in June that a Washington Post 
African correspondent would be denied press accreditation in 
the future, accusing him of biased reporting on Liberia. 

The government-controlled Liberian Broadcasting System runs 
the only television station in Liberia and two radio stations 
which give priority to government news. The Government's 
rural communication network offers a combination of news, 
entertainment, and development information to otherwise 
isolated areas. Several religiously affiliated, politically 
independent radio stations operate and report critically on 
local events, though their news programs are occasionally 
subject to government scrutiny. In April the Minister of 
Information, apparently disturbed by foreign news reports 
critical of Liberia, prohibited all radio stations from 
relaying or rebroadcasting British Broadcasting Corporation 
(BBC) and Voice of America programs over local airwaves. 
Since few Liberians own shortwave radios, this action cut off 
most Liberians from their only means of hearing unfiltered 
international news reports. Although the prohibition was 
later lifted for privately run stations, the official radio no 
longer relays the BBC's popular "Focus On Africa" news 
program. During the same time period, the official television 
station also temporarily restricted its use of U.S. -origin 
news programs supplied by the United States Information 
Agency's Worldnet. 

Academic freedom is limited. In August the Acting Secretary 
General of the opposition Liberia Action Party was dismissed 
from his position as associate professor at the University of 
Liberia after the university administration decreed that his 
partisan political activities were incompatible with his 
academic responsibilities. The dismissal came after the 
professor had joined other prominent Liberians in challenging 
the contention of a fellow professor, the principal speaker at 



183 



LIBERIA 

an official National Day ceremony, that multiparty government 
was contrary to African tradition. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The constitutional right to peaceful assembly and association 
is observed more often in urban areas than in rural areas. In 
1988 opposition groups conducted meetings and other 
organizational activities in the Monrovia area without 
interference from the Government. However, government 
authorities in the countryside often prohibit opposition 
groups from holding meetings within their jurisdictions. The 
superintendent of Lofa County banned all student political 
activities in his county in early 1988, and the Superintendent 
of Margibi County stated in July that political meetings held 
in his county must meet with his prior approval. 

Permits must be acquired for public marches and demonstrations; 
however, no political party or other group attempted to 
organize any significant demonstrations in 1988. A 1986 
Supreme Court ruling barred joint rallies and meetings of the 
collective opposition. Nonetheless, leaders of the various 
political groupings meet on an informal basis without 
government interference. 

The ruling NDPL party maintains a task force, composed of 
several hundred young men, which opposition parties claim 
exists for the sole purpose of harassing and intimidating 
political opponents. After a number of violent confrontations 
with opposition members in recent years, the NDPL task force 
kept a low profile in 1987-88 and was not implicated in any 
significant incidents. Gabriel Swope, a Methodist minister, 
claimed that he was abducted, beaten, and held for 5 hours by 
unidentified persons in June. However, a subsequent 
investigation by the Methodist Church in Liberia revealed no 
evidence that Swope had been abducted as claimed. The Church 
subsequently placed Swope on a mandatory 2-year leave of 
absence . 

Although there is no formal policy requiring government 
employees to join the NDPL, they are sometimes pressured to 
become members. The Government is initiating a check-off 
system for party dues to be deducted from civil servants' 
paychecks. Civil servants who are members of opposition 
parties are sometimes asked to resign their party membership 
if they wish to keep their jobs. 

In late August, President Doe issued Executive Decree Number 
Two which banned all student political organizations, including 
the Liberian National Student Union. The move came in the 
wake of numerous incidents of student unrest throughout the 
country, including one in which soldiers shot at demonstrators, 
killing one school employee and wounding two students. Eleven 
student leaders at the University of Liberia who signed a 
leaflet protesting the ban were expelled from the university 
and charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly fomenting 
student unrest. The University administration later suspended 
14 more students, whom it described as ringleaders of the 
student protests against the ban. In mid-September the 
Government detained 21 students for questioning regarding an 
unexplained explosion on the university campus. The students 
were arrested in a church while meeting with national church 
leaders who had volunteered to mediate the students' dispute 
with the Government. Most of the 21 students were released 



90-641 - 



184 



LIBERIA 

shortly after arrest, but 9 of them were held for 2 weeks, 
without charge, before being released. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The Constitution states that freedom of religion is a 
fundamental right of all Liberian citizens. There are no 
restrictions on the practice of religion in Liberia. No 
religion has preference over any other, and there is no 
established state religion. Christianity, brought by 
19th-century settlers and spread through the interior by 
missionaries, has long been the religion of the political and 
economic elite. The majority of the rural population continues 
to practice traditional religions. Approximately 25 percent 
of the population is Muslim. The Liberian Council of Churches, 
an organization comprising most of the Christian denominations 
in Liberia, occasionally plays a prominent role in national 
affairs . 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Constitution provides every person the right to move 
freely throughout Liberia and to leave or enter the country at 
any time. Domestic movement is still impeded by a network of 
internal checkpoints. The number of such checkpoints was 
decreased sharply in late 1987 but rose again following the 
alleged coup plots in March and July. Police and military 
personnel at these checkpoints routinely search vehicles and 
often solicit bribes from passengers. 

Exit visas are required for all Liberians leaving the country. 

These are routinely issued after applicants demonstrate that 
they have paid outstanding taxes and utility bills. The 
Government has denied a passport to a prominent Liberian 
dissident living in the United States, Ellen Johnson-Sir leaf . 
Otherwise, there were no reported restrictions on the foreign 
travel of Liberians in 1988. 

Refugees are not forced to return to the countries from which 
they have fled. In a few cases in recent years, however, the 
Government sought to deport refugees who became involved 
locally in political activities. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Despite universal suffrage and constitutional guarantees of 
free and fair elections, Liberian citizens are not free in 
practice to change their government democratically. The 
Liberian Government is structured along the lines of the 
American model, with three separate but equal branches of 
government, including a bicameral legislature. In practice, 
the executive branch, and the President in particular, has a 
disproportionate share of power. Furthermore, many officials 
from the former military government, which also was headed by 
President Doe, still hold positions of authority in the 
current civilian Government. 

The legislature (Senate 26 seats. House of Representatives 62 
seats) is still subject to inordinate executive influence. 
For example, in 1988 the legislature revived a Liberian 



185 



LIBERIA 

tradition of proclaiming the President's birthday as a 
national holiday, with celebrations to be hosted by a 
different county each year. To fund the 1988 celebrations, 
1 month's pay was deducted from the salary of each of the host 
county's employees. However, the legislature has shown a 
willingness to assert its constitutional prerogatives in some 
cases. In 1988 the Senate subjected several presidential 
nominees to intensive questioning, in some cases demanding 
personal financial records, and rejected the nomination of one 
county commissioner. Several major bills sponsored by the 
administration were pigeonholed by the legislature, including 
one which would have restricted the right of habeas corpus. 
The Senate has also established a recognized role in reviewing 
international agreements. Members of both Houses actively 
pursue constituents' interests with officials of the executive 
branch. Opposition parties continue to boycott the 
legislature; however, a group of legislators, elected in 1985 
on opposition tickets but taking seats as independents, has 
formed a caucus and functions as an informal opposition party. 

The Constitution provides for an Elections Commission to 
monitor all political activities in the country. The 
elections law empowers the Commission to certify parties, 
conduct all elections, and count election ballots. The five 
commission members are appointed by the Executive for life and 
are former members of the ruling NDPL . Citing the widespread 
fraud that occurred during the 1985 elections, the opposition 
has called for an independent vote-counting mechanism. No 
elections for public office were due in Liberia in 1988; 
national elections are next scheduled for 1991. 

In July the legislature passed legislation to remove the 
provisions of the Constitution limiting the President to two 
terms in office. The measure must now be ratified in a 
national referendum to be held sometime after July 1989. The 
three opposition parties publicly criticized the legislature 
for passing the amendment without public debate and indicated 
that they will oppose its adoption. 

The Constitution prohibits creation of a one-party state. 
Four political parties are officially recognized by the 
Elections Commission--the NDPL, the United Peoples Party 
(UPP) , the Liberia Action Party, and the Unity Party. The 
level of activity of the three opposition parties varies, but 
in the last 2 years each has held conventions or other large 
party gatherings, published party newsletters, and expressed 
its views freely in the press and at public forums. Since the 
disputed election of October 1985, only the UPP has 
participated in electoral politics. 

Women hold high positions in the Cabinet (Minister of Health 
and Social Welfare, and of Posts and Telecommunications), in 
the legislature (one seat in the Senate, four in the House), 
in the parties, and in the judiciary. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

In recent years the Government has permitted representatives 
of various organizations, including Amnesty International (AI) 
and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to 
visit Liberia to investigate alleged human rights violations. 
It did not, however, as far as is known, respond to inquiries 
in 1988 from AI , the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and 



186 



LIBERIA 

the National Press Club of Washington concerning various human 
rights developments in the country. 

Although no Liberian organizations currently exist for the 
express purpose of monitoring human rights developments, the 
Press Union of Liberia and the Liberian Council of Churches 
have spoken out actively on human rights issues in recent 
years. The Liberian Red Cross routinely visits prison 
facilities, mostly in the Monrovia area, and in 1988 was 
permitted for the first time in recent memory to carry medical 
and sanitary supplies to the isolated maximum security prison 
at Belle Yella. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The Constitution states that "only persons who are Negroes or 
of Negro descent" shall qualify by birth or naturalization to 
be citizens of Liberia. The Constitution further states that 
only Liberian citizens can own real property. These provisions 
discriminate against many nonblack residents who were born in 
Liberia and consider it their home. Otherwise, there is no 
officially sanctioned discrimination on the basis of race, 
sex, religion, language, or social status. However, members 
of President Doe's Krahn ethnic group hold a disproportionate 
share of high posts in the Government and military and are 
widely believed to be given preference in competing for lower 
level jobs. 

The status of women varies by region. In urban areas and 
along the coast, women can inherit land and property. In 
interior areas, where traditional ties are stronger, a woman 
is normally considered the property of her husband and his 
clan and is not usually entitled to inherit from her husband. 
In newly urban areas, many women are subject to both customary 
and statutory legal systems. Female circumcision is widely 
practiced by those Liberians who follow traditional religions. 
Women in Liberia are active in the professions throughout the 
modern economy but remain under represented in most jobs in the 
wage economy. The death under suspicious circumstances of a 
well-known Liberian woman in 1988 focused attention on police 
failure to investigate properly rapes, which are not commonly 
prosecuted in Liberia. The death also prompted public 
discussion of sexual harassment on the job, societal acceptance 
of rape, and the role of women in Liberian society generally. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The Constitution guarantees workers the right to associate in 
trade unions. Over 20 labor unions are registered with the 
Ministry of Labor, representing roughly 15 percent of the 
monetary sector work force. Ten national unions are members 
of the Liberian Federation of Labor Unions (LFLU) , an affiliate 
of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. 
Although organized labor has not historically had great 
influence in national politics, in recent years it has begun 
to assert itself on issues affecting workers' interests. 
In 1987, for example, several labor unions joined with the 
opposition political parties in lobbying against a bill which 
would have enjoined civil servants from membership in 
political parties. The legislature has not yet taken final 
action on the bill. Labor unions are constitutionally 
prohibited from participation in party politics. 



187 



LIBERIA 

The Labor Ministry began an investigation into LFLU's May- 
elections when some labor leaders disputed the results, but 
the National Labor Court ordered an end to the investigation, 
noting that complaints about the elections must first be filed 
with the LFLU Executive Board, and then with the National 
Labor Court. The Labor Ministry appealed this ruling, but no 
decision had been rendered by the end of 1988. 

PRC (People's Redemption Council) Decree 12 outlawing strikes 
and any other type of labor unrest is still in effect and is 
enforced. In January a special Presidential Commission 
recommended that the Government suspend the entire leadership 
of the Bong Mine Workers Union for instigating an illegal 
strike in December 1987. Although the Government did not take 
direct action against the union leaders, the union's own shop 
stewards suspended the union leaders from office for alleged 
maladministration. Many observers saw the hand of the 
Government behind the shop stewards' action. In July the 
Government ordered that the suspended union officials also be 
suspended from their company jobs pending the resolution of a 
court case brought against them by the shop stewards. Most 
Bong mine workers went on strike but returned to work after 9 
days in the face of a presidential deadline to resume work or 
be dismissed. 

The International Labor Orgaization (ILO) Committee of Experts 
has noted discrepancies between various provisions of Liberian 
legislation and ILO conventions. The Committee has urged the 
Government to adopt the new labor code now before the Liberian 
legislature, which would repeal many of the objectionable 
provisions . 

At present, the Government does not recognize the right of 
civil servants or employees of public corporations to unionize 
or to strike. Many such employees, including teachers and 
port workers, are represented by employee associations which, 
unlike unions, have no authority to bargain collectively. 
These associations represent worker interests with government 
or management. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

With the exception of civil servants and employees of public 
corporations, all workers have the right to organize and 
bargain collectively. There were no reports of direct 
government interference in union organizing activities in 
1988. The Government promotes union/management negotiations 
and sometimes provides mediation for disputes arising out of 
such negotiations. An export processing zone operates in the 
area of the Monrovia free port. Workers and employees there 
are subject to the same labor laws as those employed in the 
rest of the economy. 

The ILO Committee of Experts has noted that current labor 
legislation provides insufficient guarantees against antiunion 
discrimination. 

c. Prohibition' of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The Constitution prohibits forced labor, and the practice is 
firmly condemned by the Government. The ILO Committee of 
Experts has raised questions about the effective enforcement 
of the prohibition of forced labor, particularly on rural 
community development projects, and the measures taken to 
eliminate it. In a broader context, the Government has 



188 



LIBERIA 

indicated that the draft labor law will provide for penal 
sanctions in cases of illegal exaction of forced or compulsory 
labor . 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The law prohibits employment of children under the age of 16 
during school hours. Enforcement is difficult, though, since 
many children are engaged in subsistence farming and only a 
minority ever attend school. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The Labor Law provides for a minimum wage, paid leave, 
severance benefits, and safety standards. The minimum wage 
for agricultural workers is $2 per day. Industrial workers 
generally receive three or four times this amount. The 
minimum wages would not, alone, be sufficient to provide a 
decent standard of living for a worker and his family, but 
many families supplement their earnings through some 
subsistence farming, multiple wage earners, and/or support 
through an extended family system. The maximum hours of work 
which an employer can require are 8 hours per day or 48 hours 
per week. Safety standards are not rigorously enforced. A 
new national pension scheme was implemented in 1988 in'which 
most workers and employers will be required to participate. 



189 



MADAGASCAR 



The Democratic Republic of Madagascar, the fourth largest 
island in the world, is governed by a president and a 
parliament (National Popular Assembly), both elected by direct 
universal suffrage. The President selects the members of the 
Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), the highest policymaking 
body. President Didier Ratsiraka, in power since 1975, has 
broad constitutional powers, and his position is further 
strengthened by the influential role played by his political 
party, the Vanguard of the Malagasy Revolution (AREMA) , which 
holds an overwhelming majority in the National Popular 
Assembly. Elections are actively contested within the 
controlled political framework sanctioned by the Government. 
This framework permits political activity by only the seven 
parties making up the National Front for the Defense of the 
Revolution. The Front, established in 1976 by the Malagasy 
Constitution, was conceived as a unifying framework for 
building socialism in Madagascar while allowing for party 
diversity. No legal political parties exist outside of the 
Front, which is a kind of surrogate for a single-party state. 
The political orientation of the seven parties in the National 
Front ranges from moderate and pro-Western to radical and 
pro-Soviet . 

The Malagasy internal security system is composed of the urban 
police force and the National Gendarmerie, the latter having 
jurisdiction in the provinces. On occasion, the National 
People's Army is also used for internal security purposes. 

Starting in 1982, the Government reversed its long-standing 
Socialist policies, which had led to wide-scale 
nationalization of agriculture, industry, and commerce and to 
economic stagnation. At that time, the Government introduced, 
with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund, an 
austerity program involving major reforms, including 
devaluation of the Malagasy franc and moves to privatize many 
of the 300 government-controlled companies. This program has 
begun to show positive results, especially in the production 
and marketing of rice. However, economic growth (2 percent in 
1987) has not kept pace with population growth (3 percent), 
real incomes have declined, and unemployment remains high, 
especially among the youth (60 percent of the population is 
under age 25) . 

Although fundamental liberties and individual rights are 
guaranteed by the Constitution, several of these rights, such 
as freedom of assembly, are restricted in practice or are 
subject to exclusionary clauses in most laws. In 1988 the 
Government eased some press restrictions but continued to 
censor articles that criticized directly the Government and 
the "Socialist Revolution." In February Madagascar finally 
held the long-awaited "kung-fu" trial, in which 245 
practitioners of this martial art were tried for a variety of 
offenses, including endangering the security of the State. 
Most of the 245 had been provisionally released after arrest 
in 1985, but 37 had been held in preventive detention for over 
2 years and without charge until November 1987. The speedy 
6-day trial resulted in 29 people receiving prison sentences 
that were either suspended or shorter than the time they had 
already served, thus bringing about their immediate release. 
All charges were dropped against the others. 



190 



MADAGASCAR 



RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 



Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

While there have been recurring rumors of politically 
motivated killings in recent years, there has been no 
conclusive evidence to substantiate such rumors. In 1988 four 
separate murders of clergymen again raised speculation that 
the Catholic Church, whose officials often speak out on 
controversial issues, is being targeted by unknown political 
groups to silence church criticism. 

In 1988 the Government undertook a major campaign, involving 
military and police forces, to eradicate the well-armed and 
burgeoning cattle rustling and banditry endemic to the 
southern areas of Madagascar. By June the Government 
announced that over 200 bandits had been killed in security 
operations and an even larger number of persons had been 
arrested, including at least 50 local officials. According to 
unconfirmed reports, many of the 200 or more dead had been 
caught by law and order forces while committing a crime and 
were summarily executed. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known cases of politically motivated 
disappearance . 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

While there were no documented cases of physical torture 
occurring in Madagascar, some organizations in the security 
apparatus, notably the state secret police, have a reputation 
for ruthless methods. The kung-fu prisoners allegedly 
suffered from very cruel treatment while in detention. There 
have also been credible reports of the alleged use of torture 
by the armed forces in the Government's campaign against 
outlaw bandits in Madagascar's southwest. 

Malagasy prisons are increasingly inhumane in terms of living 
conditions. Some prisoners are not fed regularly, medical 
care is not provided, infections are commonplace, prisoners 
rarely have the opportunity to wash, and clothing is not 
provided. The death toll rises significantly among prisoners 
during the cold winter months. Amnesty International's (AI) 
1988 report is critical of this situation and notes that it 
has received reports indicating at least one prisoner died 
each day in early 1987 in Antanimora prison. Causes were 
believed to range from malnourishment to malaria and 
tuberculosis . 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

In a normal criminal case, the accused must be charged or 
released within 3 days after arrest. Generally, defendants in 
ordinary criminal/civil cases are charged formally within the 
specified time frame and, upon being charged, are allowed to 
obtain an attorney. Counsel is readily available, and 
court-appointed counsel is provided for indigents. 



191 



MADAGASCAR 

Under Malagasy law, persons suspected of activity against the 
State may be detained incommunicado for 15 days, subject to 
indefinite extension if considered necessary by the 
Government. In particular, the Government has held detainees 
in security cases for extended periods, as with the 37 Rung fu 
adherents. Also, certain defendants involved in coup-plotting 
cases have been held in pretrial detention for periods ranging 
from 20 months to over 5 years. Since the release of the Rung 
fu defendants, there has been no evidence of other arbitrary 
political detentions. 

Exile has not been used as a means of control in the recent 
past. However, in January the Malagasy Supreme Court rejected 
the appeal of two military officers on their conviction in 
1983 of plotting against the security of the State, possession 
of unauthorized arms, and other charges. One officer's 
sentence of internal exile ("deportation") was upheld. This 
term means that the prisoner is incarcerated in a prison on an 
island off the main national territory. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Malagasy Constitution provides for an independent 
judiciary, and in practice the judiciary seems to function 
without outside influence from the executive. 

The judiciary has three levels of courts: lower courts for 
civil and criminal cases carrying limited fines and sentences, 
a Court of Appeals which includes a Criminal Court for cases 
bearing sentences of 5 years or more, and a Supreme Court. 
The judiciary also has a number of special courts designed to 
handle specific Rinds of cases under the jurisdiction of the 
higher courts. A Constitutional High Court, with a totally 
separate and autonomous status, may- review the 

constitutionality of laws, decrees, and ordinances and ensures 
the legality of elections. Although the Chairman of the 
National Popular Assembly can seeR a ruling on the 
constitutionality of proposed laws, this judicial review 
function is in practice most often performed at the request of 
the President. For example, he may request an advisory 
opinion before sending proposed legislation to the Assembly 
for a vote, or after receiving legislation from the Assembly 
before promulgating it into law. A High Court of Justice, 
charged with prosecuting malfeasance in the Government, is 
provided for in the Constitution but has never come into 
existence. A Military Court has jurisdiction over all cases 
involving national security. The definition of national 
security is largely a matter of interpretation by the 
authorities, but includes acts constituting a threat to the 
nation and its political leaders, invasion by foreign forces, 
and riots that could lead to an overthrow of the Government. 
In exceptional cases, civilians may be tried in the Military 
Court if they are charged with having broRen military laws. 

The Rung-fu trials tooR place in February in an ordinary 
criminal court in the presence of a jury. The trial was 
public, and human rights monitors from the Christian Council 
of Churches were permitted to attend. Once the 245 cases came 
to trial, the proceedings were conducted fairly and quicRly, 
according to most observers. In 1984-85 these martial arts 
enthusiasts had been involved in street battles with a 
government-sponsored paramilitary youth group, and later with 
the army. The Government, which had come to perceive the 



192 



MADAGASCAR 

popular kung-fu devotees as a threat, proscribed the practice 
of kung-fu. When the ban was ignored, troops sent to attack 
the movement's headquarters in July 1985 killed the leader of 
the movement and at least 20 followers, according to 
government sources. 

At the end of 1988, there were no known political prisoners, 
and none of the students who were arrested following student 
demonstrations in 1987 remained in prison. 

The Government showed interest in 1988 in learning about other 
judicial systems and appreciated the visit of U.S. Supreme 
Court Justice O'Connor. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The State does not generally intervene in nonpolitical aspects 
of the lives of the people. The home is inviolable under 
Malagasy law, and there are no provisions for entering private 
premises without a search warrant. This protection does not 
apply, however, in the case of a declaration of a state of 
emergency or a state of siege. In their suppression of 
kung-fu gangs, for example, the military entered some homes 
without court orders and ransacked them. 

The Malagasy may make their own decisions, without government 
coercion or interference, in such matters as changing jobs or 
residence, marriage, having children, and joining permitted 
political parties or social organizations. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Private citizens have freedom to criticize government 
officials and policies without fear of arrest by the local 
authorities, but such criticism must be carefully worded. 
Direct criticism of the President or the "Socialist 
Revolution" is not tolerated. 

Madagascar has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, 
and Malagasy citizens attach great importance to the press, 
which often has an impact on the nation's policymaking 
apparatus. The press covers critically a range of policy 
issues, such as economic management. However, the Government 
through the Ministry of Interior reviews the content of 
newspapers prior to printing. When censorship is enforced, 
the newspaper leaves blank those columns where the offending 
articles would have appeared. In instances of violations of 
censorship, the Ministry has used its administrative authority 
to suspend publication. In 1988 the Government allowed 
previously barred journalists from a foreign newspaper to 
visit Madagascar, and it lifted an 8-year old ban on the 
Paris-based weekly Jeune Afrique. Earlier, the locally 
published regional magazine, Indian Ocean Review, contained 
several blank pages where an article on the call for a 
national debate was to have appeared. There is one 
government-owned newspaper. One of two major independently 
owned newspapers stopped publication in 1988 due to financial 
difficulties. Several other dailies and weeklies are 
published by party groups and independent publishers, 
including the outspoken and candid Catholic newspaper, 
Lakroa. The Government owns the radio and television stations. 



193 



MADAGASCAR 

Academic freedom is respected in theory. However, any public 
lectures or teachings which condemn Madagascar's Charter of 
the Socialist Revolution would be violating the Constitution. 
The Government announced the decentralization of Madagascar's 
university from one university with six regional campuses into 
six separate self-governing universities. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The rights of assembly and association are restricted. 
Permits are required to hold public meetings and can be denied 
by the Government if officials believe that the meeting poses 
a threat to the State or endangers national security. Those 
denied a permit can appeal these decisions before the 
administrative chamber of the Supreme Court. Persons and 
groups belonging to parties of the National Front are 
permitted to organize and assemble. Nevertheless, since 
political activity by groups outside the National Front is 
prohibited, dissenting political opinion is limited. 
Widespread student unrest, which occurred in 1987 in 
opposition to educational reform measures announced by the 
Government, did not recur in 1988. However, student 
organizations and government officials did meet to discuss 
possible solutions to resolve a serious shortage of campus 
housing, which has led to a widely publicized "squatter" 
problem, with some students living in classrooms. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

The Government is secular, and there is no official religion. 
There is no discrimination on the basis of religious 
affiliation, and persons are free to follow the faith of their 
choice. Over half of the population is Christian, with the 
remainder following traditional Malagasy religious beliefs or 
other faiths. Missionaries and clergy are generally permitted 
to operate freely. The Catholic Church has been particularly 
active in raising political consciousness among the 
economically deprived. In 1988 the Government banned an 
organization affiliated with the Catholic Church from holding 
a national political debate on the state and future of the 
nation. The separate murders of four Catholic clergymen in 
1988 added fuel to rumors of a political campaign of violence 
against the Church. However, there has been no evidence to 
link the four killings to such a campaign. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Officially there is no restriction on travel within the 
country. However, since May 1988, the start of the campaign 
to eradicate cattle rustling, villagers in the southwest must 
get permission to leave their villages. For all Malagasy, 
official approval must be obtained for trips outside the 
country, but there has been only one known instance in which 
approval was denied due to the person's political views. 
Foreign travel is impeded by the difficulty in obtaining 
foreign currency. The Malagasy franc is not convertible 
abroad, and the Government limits the amount of hard currency 
that can be obtained for foreign travel. There is no refugee 
population in Madagascar. 



194 



MADAGASCAR 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The electorate's choice is constrained by the nature of the 
political system, since the only political parties allowed to 
operate in Madagascar are those which are members of the 
National Front. However, there exists a range of ideological 
and policy views among the seven Front parties, and within 
this spectrum there are viewpoints represented that are at 
odds with the policies of the administration. Thus, the 
electoral process does give the voters a chance to choose 
among candidates expressing differing views in local and 
regional elections, as well as in the parliamentary and 
presidential campaigns. 

The 137 members of the National Popular Assembly are elected 
by universal suffrage for 5-year terms. The President is 
elected to a 7-year term. The next elections for both are now 
scheduled for 1989 after the Supreme Revolutionary Council, in 
October 1987, extended the terms of the Assembly deputies by 9 
months for, according to official reports, economic reasons. 
The electoral process, although not completely free from 
irregularities, has been essentially straightforward in recent 
elections. The political system in Madagascar also reflects a 
considerable degree of regional balance. 

The President controls all major policy decisions. Most 
legislation is initiated by the executive branch. Legislation 
originated by legislators is passed to the executive for 
review and approval before coming up for a vote in the 
Assembly. 

Women have a lengthy tradition of involvement in high-level 
political activity, and currently women are members of the 
Cabinet, the Supreme Revolutionary Council, and the Assembly. 
Women are also very active and play major roles in the various 
political parties. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has not cooperated with groups wishing to 
investigate alleged human rights violations and has denied 
visas to AI representatives. When the President's opponent in 
the 1982 election campaign called for supervision of the 
elections by AI, the President rejected the proposal as being 
in derogation of national sovereignty. In the absence of 
private human rights groups, the Christian churches in the 
country have taken the lead in advocating human rights. 
Although the Government is sensitive to allegations of human 
rights abuses, it has not officially responded to questions or 
criticisms from the churches or any other group. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Madagascar is inhabited by an estimated 10.3 million people of 
both Malayo-Polynesian and African origin. While there 
appears to be no customary practice of institutional or 
systematic discrimination on the basis of ethnic grouping in 
Madagascar, a serious outbreak of violence and plunder of 
Indian-owned property occurred across Madagascar in March 
1987. This prosperous community, estimated at some 18,000 
persons of Indian origin and referred to locally as "karana," 



195 



MADAGASCAR 

is primarily engaged in commerce. While no Indians died in 
these riots, several looters were killed, many were wounded 
and property damage was great. The simultaneous outbreak of 
these riots in cities across the island and the relative 
absence of damage outside the Indian community gave rise to 
speculation that these incidents were carefully coordinated 
and organized. There was some speculation that these 
anti-Indian riots may have been orchestrated by the 
Government. The Chinese and French communities also have 
experienced some resentment from the Malagasy, mainly because 
of their success in commerce. 

Madagascar has what is essentially a matriarchal society, and 
a highly visible role for women has long been recognized as an 
integral part of the country's sociological framework. Women 
have a prominent role in the business and economic life of the 
country, with many of them managing or owning business 
concerns or filling management positions in state industries. 
Education at all levels is open to women. However, women in 
rural areas and among the urban poor face a greater degree of 
hardship. In addition to the responsibilities associated with 
raising a family, the realities of subsistence agriculture 
force these women to engage in farm labor and related 
activities . 

While women are not discriminated against in the workplace, 
discrimination does exist in marriage and property rights. In 
the case of divorce or the death of the husband, the wife 
inherits only one-third of their joint wealth. On the other 
hand, the wife receives a pension if her husband dies, but the 
reverse is not true. Women's rights groups as such do not 
exist, but groups of professional women and women within the 
political parties are working to change these aspects of 
family law. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The labor force of 4.9 million is mostly agrarian (85 
percent), and union labor accounts for less than 5 percent of 
the total. The Malagasy have the right to establish and join 
labor unions and to strike. In reality, strikes in Madagascar 
are a rarity because of the severe unemployment problem and 
the politicization of the labor federations. However, there 
are occasional wildcat strikes. In these, the Government 
generally sides with management for the restoration of order. 
Of the nine national labor organizations in existence, seven 
are affiliated with the seven political parties within the 
National Front for the Defense of the Revolution. The 
remaining two unions in 1979 signed a protocol of agreement 
with the dominant political union in the nation pledging 
support for the Malagasy "Socialist Revolution." The primary 
focus of the unions is party politics, and they are usually 
active only during election campaigns. 

Given the small fraction of Madagascar's population which is 
unionized, labor unions play an insignificant role in national 
life. Several of the unions are members of the World 
Federation of Trade Unions based in Prague, or of the World 
Confederation of Labor. One union, the Confederation of 
Malagasy Workers, has links with the Brussels-based 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. 



196 



MADAGASCAR 

b. Ttie Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Union activity is governed by the Malagasy Labor Code of May 
18, 1975 which guarantees free unions and the right to bargain 
collectively. The Labor Code, which covers all workers except 
for civil servants and the merchant marine, prescribes an 
arbitration procedure which must be followed in 
labor/management disputes. Should this procedure not lead to 
a settlement, workers individually, or as represented by a 
union, may call a strike. There are no export processing 
zones in Madagascar, labor legislation is applied uniformly 
throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There is no forced labor in Madagascar within the definition 
set forth by the International Labor Organization. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The Malagasy Labor Code describes a child as any person, 
regardless of gender, under the age of 18. The minimum age 
for employment is 14, but the use of child labor is prohibited 
in those areas where there is apparent and imminent danger. 
In reality, many young children work with their parents in the 
rural areas on family farms. In the urban areas many children 
earn a living as parking attendants, newspaper vendors, etc. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The Malagasy Labor Code and its enforcing legislation describe 
the working conditions for employees. Malagasy law 
distinguishes between agricultural and nonagricultural work. 
There is a 44-hour workweek in nonagricultural and service 
industries. There are also provisions for holiday pay, sick 
and maternity leave, and insurance. There are several minimum 
wages in Madagascar according to categories of work. The 
lowest (for unskilled workers) is approximately $20 per month 
and is inadequate to ensure the average family a decent 
standard of living. 

The Labor Code has rules concerning building safety, machinery 
and moving engines, operational safety, and sanitation 
standards. It appears that, in practice, the rules and 
regulations of the Code are adhered to by employers and are 
enforced by the authorities. Labor inspectors carry out 
regular visits to industrial work sites. Violations of 
safety, sanitary, operational, and other Work Code laws are 
the subject of reports by these inspectors. If the violations 
are not remedied within a specified time frame, the violators 
are legally charged and subject to various penalties. 



197 



MALAWI 

The President of Malawi, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, has maintained 
nearly undisputed control over political life and government 
since he led the country to independence in 1964. He was 
proclaimed "Life President" in 1970. Political activity is 
limited to participation in the sole legal party, the Malawi 
Congress Party. Parliamentary elections, which are required 
at least every 5 years, were last held in 1987. Only 
candidates selected by the party and approved by the President 
are allowed to run. Almost all constituencies were contested 
in the last elections and nearly half of the incumbents were 
not reelected. Constitutional amendments and laws passed by 
the Parliament generally reflect decisions already taken by 
the President and his close advisors. 

Military, police, and party security organs closely monitor a 
wide range of activities, particularly opposition to the 
Government. The small, highly professional Malawian military 
establishment (6,500 men) faces a major problem in trying to 
provide sufficient security to permit the reopening and 
operation of the Nacala railroad line through Mozambique to 
the Indian Ocean, pursuant to a December 1986 accord with 
Mozambique. The police, responsible for border security and 
rarely armed, also have had to deal with incidents of 
cross-border incursions by Mozambique National Resistance 
guerrillas (RENAMO) . 

Malawi is a small, densely populated, landlocked country with 
few exploitable resources. Its current population of 8 
million people is growing at an estimated high annual rate of 
3.7 percent. Possessing no significant mineral resources or 
industrial sector, Malawi is heavily dependent on 
agriculture--tobacco, tea, sugar, peanuts, cotton, and 
sometimes corn--for export earnings and employment. Since 
1981 the Government has pursued an economic reform program 
with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund and the 
donor community. Despite steady growth in the mid-1980 "s, the 
combined effects of drought, the heavy burden of an influx of 
Mozambican refugees, and high transportation costs resulting 
from the closure of the rail routes through Mozambique have 
had significant negative impact on Malawi's economy in the 
past 2 years. 

Although there were no new human rights cases attracting 
international attention in 1988, human rights remain widely 
circumscribed. Several cases continued to draw appeals and 
inquiries from human rights groups--the cases of Orton and 
Vera Chirwa, who are both serving life sentences for treason 
(commuted from death sentences in 1984), and Jack Mapanje, a 
well-known professor and poet who has been detained without 
charge since September 1987. Malawi has become host to one of 
the largest refugee populations in Africa. Since mid-1986, 
Malawi has experienced a massive influx of Mozambicans fleeing 
famine and fighting between Mozambican government forces and 
RENAMO insurgents. By the end of October 1988, official 
estimates put the number of refugees at about 555,000 with 
approximately 20,000 new arrivals each month. Malawi's 
generous and humane treatment of these refugees, despite the 
deleterious effect of their presence on its economy and 
infrastructure, has been widely praised by the international 
community. 



198 



MALAWI 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no allegations of politically motivated killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no known political disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Beatings by the police at the time of arrest or during 
detention are illegal but do occur. The officials responsible 
are rarely, if ever, disciplined for such abuses. Prison 
terms of hard labor are the norm for common criminals. Prison 
conditions are believed to be poor and food insufficient, but 
this is difficult to verify because access to prisons is 
tightly controlled. 

Amnesty International's (AI) 1988 report notes that Orton and 
Vera Chirwa were transferred in 1987 from Mikuyu Prison to 
Zomba Central Prison where conditions were described as poor. 
According to AI, Orton Chirwa was in bad health due to 
treatment at Mikuyu, which included long periods of being 
manacled and handcuffed to an iron bar at night. AI ' s 1988 
report also states that in 1987 Dr. Goodluck Mhango, 
associated with the Malawi Young Pioneers, sustained serious 
head injuries after beatings by police at the time he was 
taken into custody. AI had reports that Mhango may have been 
arrested because of his brother, a journalist resident abroad, 
whose political writings may have displeased the Government. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Under the Preservation of Public Security Act, the Minister of 
Justice (a position currently held by President Banda) may 
order the arrest, search, and detention of any person if he 
considers it to be necessary for the preservation of public 
order. A person arrested under this law can be detained 
indefinitely by the police without trial, but courts may issue 
a writ of habeas corpus upon application and review the 
detention. Persons may be detained indefinitely without 
charge for "political" offenses against the party or 
Government, but long-term detainees are normally charged 
officially and brought before the courts. Persons may also be 
detained without charge for periods up to a month and then 
released, apparently for making statements to which the 
Government objects. While it is difficult to estimate the 
number of arbitrary detentions and arrests made in Malawi in 
1988, it appears fewer than in previous years. Persons 
charged with crimes are usually held in custody while awaiting 
trial. In capital offenses, delays of 3 years or longer 
before a case is heard are common. 

A number of persons detained in past years apparently for 
their political views or, in some cases, offhand comments 
remain in detention. Aleke Banda, a former high-ranking 
government and party official, has been detained for over 8 
years and charges against him still have not been made 
public. Jack Mapanje, the head of the English Department at 



199 



MALAWI 

Chancellor College, was arrested by police on September 25, 
1987. The reasons for his detention have not been made 
public, but apparently are related to his poetry, some of 
which may have been seen as criticizing the Government. 
Mapanje was held incommunicado for several months, but his 
wife was allowed to visit him in 1988. In another case, a 
young Malawian, detained in October 1985 for asking in jest if 
President Banda would live long enough to enjoy his newest 
residence, remained in detention at the end of 1988. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Malawi has both a traditional court system, which deals with 
certain criminal cases, including capital offenses, and a 
modern court system, which generally handles civil cases and 
some criminal cases. Those charged under the military code of 
justice (including civilians) are tried in military courts. 
Lawyers are not permitted to assist defendants in regional 
traditional court cases, but legal counsel is permitted in the 
modern court system. The right of appeal exists in both the 
modern and traditional court systems. 

In practice, the Government and party exert little control in 
cases tried in the modern court system, which consists of the 
Magistrate Courts, the High Court, and the Supreme Court of 
Appeal. The President appoints the Chief Justice of the High 
Court and, after consultation with the Judicial Service 
Commission, other 'nodern court justices. These courts are 
open to the public, and defendants are charged publicly. 

The three traditional courts at the regional level deal with 
most capital offenses, including treason. Police officials 
handle the prosecution, and defendants conduct their own 
defense. Traditional court justices are appointed directly by 
the President. Of the five members of each regional 
traditional court, three are chiefs generally without formal 
legal training, one is a trained lawyer who advises the court, 
and the fifth, the chairman, has had a course in law. It is 
generally believed that there is little executive interference 
in traditional court cases dealing in nonpolitical matters of 
customary law. A guilty verdict is reviewed by the National 
Traditional Appeals Court, and a ministerial committee 
considers clemency. 

The Forfeiture Act permits the Government to revoke the 
property rights of those suspected of economic crimes. These 
revocations sometimes have political overtones. When the 
Forfeiture Act is invoked, the person loses all worldly 
possessions, including business, financial, and personal 
assets. Revocation of property rights is carried out by 
executive fiat with no judicial review. Notice of forfeiture 
must be published in the official gazette. In 1988 four 
forfeiture actions were undertaken against individuals and 
businesses, apparently because they were suspected of 
involvement in illegal' foreign exchange transactions. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Police can enter houses of suspects at will under special 
entry authority to conduct searches for suspects or 
incriminating evidence. In at least one trial in 1988, 
however, the judge disallowed evidence obtained without a 



200 



MALAWI 

proper warrant. Many citizens believe that a network of 
informers reports private statements and actions to the 
Government. The authorities have been known to open domestic 
and international mail. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

There is little public criticism of the Government and its 
policies, even by the Parliament. Public security regulations 
make it an offense to publish anything likely "to undermine 
the authority of, or public confidence in, the Government" and 
discussion of Malawi's political future after President Banda 
is not permitted. 

All publications, recordings, and movies entering Malawi are 
screened by the censorship board, and the current list of 
banned items includes more than 1,350 titles. The local media 
do not submit their news and programs to the Government in 
advance for approval or censorship, but informal, strict 
self-censorship "guidelines" are understood by the media. The 
penalty for publishing material which meets with official 
displeasure can be severe. Journalists have been jailed for 
extended periods for overstepping these "guidelines." The two 
newspapers and the sole government-owned radio station provide 
adequate and unbiased coverage of international issues. In 
addition, criticism of the efficiency of some government 
departments sometimes appears in the media and in 
parliamentary debate. Foreign journalists must request 
permission to enter Malawi and must specify in advance the 
topics they intend to cover. 

Limited freedom of inquiry into the natural and social 
sciences exists at the university and may include some 
examination of radical political ideologies, provided this 
does not extend to criticism of the Government. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

No political meetings are permitted other than those of the 
Malawi Congress Party. Individuals may be imprisoned if they 
further the aims of an "unlawful society," that is, any group 
considered to be "dangerous to the good government of the 
Republic." In the nonpolitical sphere, individuals and 
organizations generally are free to meet and associate. 
Professional, fraternal, and service organizations exist and 
are encouraged by the Government. For a discussion of freedom 
of association as it applies to labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no state or preferred religion, but religious groups 
are required to register with the Government. Except for the 
Jehovah's Witnesses, religious groups generally may establish 
places of worship and train clergy. Religious publications, 
like all others, may not criticize the Government or the 
party. Most religious groups are free to establish and 
maintain links with coreligionists in other countries, and 
members are free to travel abroad. Similarly, foreign 
missionaries are permitted to enter Malawi and proselytize. 
However, in 1988, two members of the Pakistan-based Ahmadi 
sect, which considers itself Muslim despite theological 
divergences from traditional Islam, were arrested while 
visiting Malawi to explore the possibility of establishing an 



201 



MALAWI 

Ahmadi mission. They were held for 6 weeks and subsequently- 
deported. There is no tie between any particular religion and 
the Malawi Congress Party. 

Jehovah's Witnesses, whose religious convictions prevent them 
from joining political parties, have been banned since 1967. 
The Government considers the Witnesses' activities to be 
disruptive of "the prevailing calm, law, and order." 
Witnesses continue to be arrested and charged on occasion. In 
1988 an employee of the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe was charged 
with membership in the group and received a suspended sentence. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

There are few restrictions, in practice, on movement within 
Malawi, though legal provisions exist for restricting the 
movement of those convicted of political or criminal 
offenses. Asian residents and citizens are free to travel 
within the country but must reside and work in one of four 
urban areas (Lilongwe, Zomba, Mzuzu, and Blantyre/Limbe) . 
Denial of passports on political grounds frequently extends to 
family members of persons in political disfavor and to those 
persons the Government suspects may criticize it if allowed to 
travel abroad. Civil servants and employees of state-owned 
enterprises must obtain written permission to travel abroad, 
even on vacation. Obtaining such a clearance can take from a 
few days to several months. Formal emigration is neither 
restricted nor encouraged. There is a small outward flow of 
political dissidents from the country. Citizenship may be 
revoked but in practice this is not done. 

Malawi has acted in an exemplary manner toward the large 
influx of Mozambican refugees it hosts. The refugees, located 
in heavily populated areas with little available land, have 
placed a great strain on the economy and on the transportation 
and social services networks. The Government has devoted many 
of its own scarce resources to assisting the refugees and has 
permitted international and private voluntary organizations to 
operate relief efforts. These efforts are coordinated by a 
committee chaired by the Ministry of Health. The United 
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international 
assistance groups are able to travel freely to assess relief 
needs and to investigate allegations of protection problems. 
In one apparently isolated incident in March, 6 Mozambican 
refugees were forcibly repatriated after organizing a protest 
against delays in receiving rations. The refugees, however, 
reportedly were allowed to return to Malawi shortly after 
their repatriation. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens of Malawi do not, in practice, have the ability to 
change their government. Major political decisions are made 
either directly by the President or those few persons closely 
associated with him. No opposition political parties or 
movements are permitted. Membership in the Malawi Congress 
Party is not mandatory but is often coerced. Membership is 
expected of those who aspire to government positions 
(including the Civil Service) or professional success outside 
of government. Party membership is often required of school 
children and of those who seek access to government services 
or entrance to local markets. The annual renewal fee is only 
about 25 cents, but this can be nearly half a day's pay for a 



202 



MALAWI 

minimum wage earner. In addition, when the President visits 
an area, financial contributions from individuals and 
businesses are expected. Nearly half the population holds at 
least nominal party membership. 

The party structure provides for some choice among candidates 
for party, parliamentary, and other offices. For example, in 
the parliamentary elections held in 1987, there were several 
candidates for election in a number of constituencies. Nearly 
one-half of the incumbent members of the National Assembly 
were not reelected. All nominees, however, were selected by 
the party and approved by the President. Active political 
campaigning is not permitted. The National Assembly, 
consisting of both elected and a few appointed members, is 
mainly concerned with ratifying government policy. Its powers 
are broadly based in law but highly circumscribed in 
practice. There is no serious discussion of policy questions 
during parliamentary debates. Women, who may belong to the 
party and vote, hold 11 of the 123 seats in Parliament. No 
women hold ministerial level positions. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government does not permit organizations such as the 
International Committee of the Red Cross or AI to conduct 
human rights investigations in Malawi. Nongovernmental 
organizations devoted to the furtherance of human rights are 
not permitted to exist. Expressions of interest in alleged 
human rights problems by outside groups or persons are not 
welcomed and are usually ignored. Few government officials 
are even willing to discuss the subject of human rights. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Malawi is one of the world's least developed countries, but 
the economic and social needs of ethnic Africans are generally 
met on a nondiscriminatory basis. Asian residents, however, 
are discriminated against. For instance, Asians, whether 
Malawian citizens or not, have been compelled to transfer 
ownership of rural shops and trucking businesses to ethnic 
African Malawian citizens. Moreover, strict rules governing 
where Asians may own property result in limitations on where 
they may reside. Changes in the citizenship law in 1986 
eliminated a provision whereby persons who held foreign 
passports could reside indefinitely in Malawi. These changes 
in the law, together with actions under the Forfeiture Act 
(which have been applied in large measure against Asians), 
have led many in the small Asian community (about 5,000 
persons) to leave Malawi and others to question their 
long-term future there. 

Women are generally limited to the roles defined by a 
traditional African society and do not have opportunities 
equal to those of men, although the President takes a special 
interest in the status of women and supports a number of 
programs designed to benefit them. As mothers, women enjoy 
access to the traditional health services and to extension 
programs designed to improve homemaking abilities. Such 
programs, while beneficial, have not given full recognition to 
the importance of women as agricultural producers in the rural 
sector (roughly 70 percent of all smallholder farms and over 
50 percent of subsistence holdings are headed by women) and 



203 



MALAWI 

the potential role women can have in the modern sector. 
Although males still have a comparative advantage in terms of 
educational and employment opportunities, the Government has 
initiated programs to begin to rectify existing 
discrimination. For example, a third of the positions in the 
public education system have been reserved for women. 
Although Malawi's traditional tribal leadership structures are 
primarily matrilineal, several small ethnic groups grant fewer 
rights and privileges to women and occasionally continue to 
practice female circumcision. 

Malawi enjoys a considerable degree of ethnolinguistic 
uniformity. The vast majority of the population speaks or 
understands Chichewa, which became the national language in 
1968. English is the official language for government and 
business. Malawi's indigenous groups are sufficiently alike 
in culture and social organization to permit relatively easy 
interaction, including intermarriage, social and residential 
intermixture in agricultural settlements, and political , 
cooperation . 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

In the small wage sector, workers have the right of 
association, and labor unions exist. However, their 
activities are highly circumscribed, and they are generally 
ineffective in achieving gains for workers. The reasons for 
this are economic as well as political: the economy of Malawi 
can sustain only a small number of wage earners, most of whom 
occupy positions as unskilled laborers on large estate farms. 

Malawi law provides for the right to strike, but in practice 
strikes do not occur. Labor unions come under an umbrella 
organization, the Trades Union Congress of Malawi (TUCM) . 
With government supervision, the TUCM associates with 
international organizations and is a member of the 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity and of the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The 
Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council is scheduled 
to open a permanent office in Malawi in the near future. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Workers have the legal right to organize. Collective 
bargaining is allowed, but its use is limited. The Government 
has set a minimum wage and regulates working conditions but 
does not intervene overtly in the collective bargaining 
process. Malawi has no export processing zones, and labor 
legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
Forced labor is prohibited by law and is not practiced. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum working age is 14, but this applies only to the 
relatively small urban wage sector. In the large subsistence 
agriculture sector, children work on family farms at a younger 
age. 



204 



e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Less than 15 percent of the work force is employed in the 
formal wage sector. For those fortunate enough to hold paid 
jobs, wages and working conditions are generally adequate, and 
paid holidays and safety standards in the workplace are 
required by law. However, enforcement of these standards is 
limited. Malawi's low wage levels--the minimum wage is about 
50 cents per day in the urban areas--ref lect the abundance of 
unskilled labor and the Government's policy of limiting the 
rural-urban income gap and hence the rate of migration to the 
towns. Government regulations limit the workweek to 45 hours 
in the construction industry, and 48 hours in other 
industries. In practice, most employees work between 37.5 and 
42.5 hours per week over 5 days. 



205 



MALI 



Mali is a single-party state in which effective authority is 
exercised by General Moussa Traore, President of the Republic 
and Secretary General of the Democratic Union of the Malian 
People (UPDM) , the country's only legal political party and 
supreme political entity. President Traore assumed power 
through a military coup in 1968. The military Government 
adopted a new Constitution in 1974. Since then, under 
Traore's leadership, the military have retained a privileged 
position, but civilians have also played an increasingly 
important role in daily government operations and in the 
party. In 1988 military officials held approximately 22 
percent of the cabinet portfolios and 25 percent of the seats 
in the party's Central Executive Bureau. Military officers 
occupied 4 of the 7 regional governerships , 11 of the 46 
districts, and an important number of lower-level 
administrative posts, particularly in the border areas. 

Mali maintains an army and air force, which provide both 
external and internal security. The gendarmerie (paramilitary 
police) assists in the latter area. Mali has no special 
internal security force. 

With an annual per capita gross national product of 
approximately $190, Mali is among the world's poorest 
countries. Mali is landlocked and lacks major mineral 
resources. Its economy rests on subsistence farming and 
animal husbandry. Although data is not yet available, 
agricultural production in 1988 was expected to increase 
substantially due to good rainfall. However, any gain in the 
food supply is offset by Mali's rapidly growing, largely 
illiterate population, and unemployment is a persistent 
problem. In 1988 the Government continued its attempts to 
modernize the economy, particularly through fiscal reform and 
privatization of state enterprises, but Mali remains heavily 
dependent on external aid. 

Human rights, including political rights, are circumscribed by 
the Government. However, in 1988 the last known political 
prisoner was released, the controversial desert prison of 
Taoudenit was closed, and the Government expanded its practice 
of permitting citizens to criticize government economic reform 
policies, corruption, and inefficiency within limited arenas, 
including the UDPM convention in March. In June 1988, 
President Traore was elected chairman of the Organization of 
African Unity (OAU) . In his first few months he has been an 
active OAU President, seeking to resolve numerous outstanding 
African regional conflicts. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

No politically motivated killings were reported. 

b. Disappearance 

No incidents of disappearance, abduction, or hostage-taking 
were reported. 



206 



MALI 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The Government does not condone police brutality and has 
issued specific instructions prohibiting brutality against 
suspects. However, physical abuse of suspected persons 
sometimes occurs during police interrogation or in confronting 
demonstrations. There were no instances of officials being 
tried or punished for such actions. Torture is rare, but 
public beating by the citizenry of persons identified as 
thieves occasionally takes place. 

Prison conditions are harsh and characterized by inadequate 
medical facilities and food supplies. Several prisons are 
located in isolated, inhospitable desert regions, which makes 
it difficult for family members to visit prisoners and provide 
extra food. However, at one of the more isolated prisons, at 
Kidal, prison conditions are better than in Bamako's 
overcrowded central prison. Prisoners are permitted to work 
outside the prison and are paid a token sum for their work. 
On the eve of Mali's independence day, September 22, the 
Government announced the closing of the Taoudenit Prison, an 
isolated security prison on the site of ancient salt mines in 
which prisoners worked. In the past, political prisoners have 
reportedly been held there, and Amnesty International has 
received reports that two long-term political prisoners died 
in Taoudenit in 1987. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Malian judicial system is based on the French model. 
Detained persons do not have the right to a judicial 
determination of the legality of their detention, but arrests 
cannot be made without formal charges. However, in political 
cases, the authorities do not always follow this practice. 
Malian law does not provide for release on bail, but detainees 
are sometimes released on their own recognizance. 
Administrative backlogs often cause delays in bringing people 
to trial. Detainees are usually allowed access to a lawyer of 
their choice. 

Several students from the teacher training college (ENSUP) 
were briefly detained (and reportedly beaten) on March 2 after 
a march on the Ministry of Education. The disturbances were 
part of a series of strikes and demonstrations staged by 
teachers and students protesting the Government's nonpayment 
of salaries and scholarships. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

A part of the executive branch, the judiciary, is not 
independent. The Ministry of Justice supervises both law 
enforcement and judicial functions. The Supreme Court is the 
highest court, with both judicial and administrative powers. 
The National Assembly can convene a High Court of Justice to 
hear cases against state ministers, but this Court did not 
meet during 1988. 

Corruption remains a major political issue, and trials against 
corrupt officials continue, notably in the Special Court of 
State Security. Defendants usually admit guilt in the hope of 
receiving a more lenient sentence and allow their lawyers to 
argue mitigating circumstances. The verdict and sentence are 



207 



MALI 

rendered by a panel of three judges. The death penalty is 
mandatory under the law for anyone convicted of embezzling 
more than $36,000. However, in most embezzlement trials, 
restitution by the accused can decrease the severity of the 
sentence. Once convicted, a person can appeal for a 
presidential pardon or request a new trial. The right to 
request a presidential pardon or a new trial exists in 
mandatory death penalty cases. 

From November 1987 to July 1988, a Special Court of State 
Security was convened to try government officials who had 
misappropriated government funds. Judgments ranged from 
20-years in prison at hard labor to not guilty. 

On the occasion of the 1988 Malian Independence Day, the 
Government again pardoned prisoners, including three persons 
imprisoned for plotting to overthrow the Government. As far 
as is known, there were no political prisoners being held in 
Mali at the end of the year. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Inviolability of the home is provided for in the Constitution 
and generally respected in practice. Police searches are 
infrequent, and warrants are issued and recorded, though 
sometimes after the fact. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Malian Constitution does not expressly provide for freedom 
of speech and press. However, President Traore, in an address 
during his state visit to the United States, noted that freedom 
of expression is respected in Mali. In theory, criticism is 
permitted within the councils of the sole political party, 
which all Malians are encouraged to join. Not all Malians are 
party members, however, and questioning of government 
authority outside party deliberations is discouraged, although 
not expressly forbidden. 

The Government controls all major Malian media, and all 
journalists are government employees. There are independent 
specialty magazines such as Jamana, for cultural and social 
news, or Podium, for sports news, that contain some political 
commentary and circulate freely. While questioning of 
government authority is not permitted, media and public 
criticism of specific programs and the performance of some 
government offices or office-holders is allowed. Prior to the 
1987 Extraordinary Party Congress, the President himself 
participated in a series of public meetings in which charges 
of corruption were leveled against his Government. 

Academic freedom does not include the right to criticize the 
Government, nor is this right extended to the only recognized 
labor union, which is considered by many to be an arm of the 
Government. The union has, however, occasionally expressed 
some criticisms. Private Malian publications which are more 
than mildly critical of the Government do not exist, but 
international publications, even those critical of Mali and 
its Government, are available. Satire and social criticism in 
the media, sometimes with a political cast, are not common but 
are occasionally encouraged by the Government. 



208 



MALI 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Malian Constitution provides for the right of citizens to 
form organizations to protect their "professional interests," 
but in reality only selected nonpolitical organizations such 
as urban professional associations qualify. The only groups 
which assemble freely are the women's, youth, and similar 
associations of Mali's single political party. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Mali is a secular state. The Government generally does not 
discriminate on religious grounds. Although 90 percent of 
Malians are Muslim, most other religions may practice their 
faiths freely and are permitted to establish houses of worship 
as well as schools. Christian missionaries of various faiths 
enjoy government cooperation. Proselytizing and conversion 
are permitted, except in the case of the Baha'i, who may 
practice at home but may not proselytize or establish houses 
of worship. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Freedom of movement in Mali is generally unimpeded, although 
police checks sometimes occur in which Malians and foreigners 
alike are stopped, particularly at night. These checks are 
used ostensibly to restrict the movement of contraband goods. 
In practice, some police probably supplement their frequently 
delayed salaries by assessing ad hoc fines or confiscating 
goods. Malians are free to change residence or workplace. 
Foreign travel requires an exit visa, but this is easy to 
obtain. Repatriation is not restricted. 

In the past drought years, Mali both accepted and generated 
displaced persons. Several thousand Malians were repatriated 
from Algeria in 1986 and 1987. In 1987 Mali also welcomed 
back over 100 Malians deported from France. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens have limited and infrequent opportunity to influence 
their government and no ability to change it. Important 
policies and decisions are made by a small group--the 
President, the 19-member Central Executive Bureau of the UDPM, 
and the Council of Ministers. The memberships of these groups 
overlap. The military role in governing Mali remains 
important, but civilian participation in the leadership groups 
has been growing. Party congresses, including the one held in 
March, are called by the President to consider special issues, 
such as recent issues of political participation and 
corruption. The 1987 Special Party Congress adopted a new 
National Charter of National Reorientation of Public Life, 
calling on Malians to dedicate efforts to economic development. 
The Congress also appointed a special commission to assist the 
Secretary General of the party to recruit new leadership and 
encourage greater public participation in the party and, by 
extension, the Government. These efforts continued throughout 
1988. 



209 



MALI 

Within the one-party system, multiple candidates often contest 
party elections at the local level, but for National Assembly 
elections, which are held every 4 years, only one carefully 
selected party candidate runs for each seat. Proposed 
legislation is debated and endorsed in the National Assembly 
after its acceptance by the Council of Ministers and review by 
the Supreme Court. Party membership is a prerequisite for 
voting and for holding a civil service appointment or other 
government position. All citizens are encouraged to join for 
a nominal fee. 

While underrepresented, women are present at all levels of the 
Government and in the party. Two women are cabinet ministers, 
and one is in the party's Central Executive Bureau. One 
woman, the President of the Malian Women's Association, is a 
member of the National Assembly. A few women serve in the 
armed forces and the police department. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government is generally responsive to inquiries by 
recognized human rights groups, but there are no local 
organizations to monitor human rights. The Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs handles inquiries from Amnesty International 
or other international human rights organizations. Mali does 
not play a major role in international human rights forums, 
although this may change as a result of President Traore's 
tenure as OAU Chairman. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Mali does not practice religious or ethnic discrimination, nor 
does it have the civil and racial strife evident in many other 
multiethnic countries. Virtually all of Mali's ethnic groups 
are represented at the highest state and party levels. 
Although some nomadic groups such as the Tuaregs are not 
completely integrated into the economic and political 
mainstream, Mali is relatively free of ethnic tensions. 

Social and cultural factors place men in the dominant position 
in Mali. However, women play an important economic role, both 
in market life and in farming. Custom tends to restrict women 
to "women's issues" when they participate in politics. The 
Malian Women's Association focuses primarily on establishing 
cooperatives, improving health programs, fostering education, 
and campaigning against female circumcision, which is still 
widely practiced. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The National Union of Malian Workers (UNTM) , composed of 12 
unions, is Mali's only recognized workers' organization. The 
UNTM claims to maintain a degree of autonomy from the 
Government, and unlike the women's and youth associations, it 
is not officially a part of the UDPM. It has on occasion 
offered limited criticisms of certain government programs. It 
is, however, subject to considerable government influence and 
control, and the UNTM Secretary General is a party member, 
although not a member of the Central Executive Council (BEC) 
of the UDPM. The UNTM maintains contacts with international 



210 



MALI 

labor organizations, both public and private. The UNTM is 
affiliated with two international labor bodies: the 
Organization of West African Workers and the Organization of 
African Trade Union Unity. 

Within limits, strikes have been permitted, but they rarely 
occur. Given Mali's high level of unemployment, most workers 
are reluctant to strike for long periods of time. Basically, 
any union planning to go on strike must notify the UNTM and 
get prior approval. In the case of the student strikes of 
1988, no approval was given, but the strikes still took place. 

In January teachers and students struck for approximately 1 
month over nonpayment of their salaries and scholarship 
stipends. News reports stated that 85 teachers of a branch of 
the National Education and Cultural Association who 
participated in the strike were later transferred, but 
government sources maintained that these were normal transfers 
and that some of the strikers had illegally infringed on the 
right of others to work. Protests subsided for several 
weeks, but on March 2 students from the teachers' training 
college marched from their school to the Ministry of National 
Education to protest the transf er--which they believed was 
arbitrary--of one of their teachers. Some students were 
reportedly held for several hours by security forces, but were 
later released. The protests subsided after the Government 
made back payments of salaries. In November the ILO's 
Committee on Freedom of Association concluded that the 
antiunion reprisals taken by the Government of Mali against 
the striking teachers, which were said to include transfers, 
dismissals, and arrests, constituted an infringement on their 
freedom of association. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The limits to collective bargaining are arbitrary. The Malian 
Constitution specifically provides for the liberty of citizens 
to form organizations to protect their "professional 
interests," and there are no specific constraints by the 
Government or employers on workers attempting to organize. In 
practice, Mali's unitary party system has effectively 
inhibited the development of independent, politically oriented 
labor unions. At present, there are no unions not affiliated 
with the UNTM. 

There are no export processing zones in Mali, and labor 
legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited. This prohibition is 
generally observed in practice. Duly convicted criminals may 
perform various jobs; at the prison at Kidal, they are paid 
for this work. There have been reports that a form of 
traditional slavery is still practiced in some isolated parts 
of the country. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment is 14, but with parents' 
permission children can be apprenticed at 12. In practice, 
children in rural areas join the family farming work force at 
a much younger age. As workers in the informal sector, they 
are not protected by laws against unjust compensation, 
excessive hours, and capricious discharge. 



211 

MALI 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Mali has a detailed labor code specifying conditions of 
employment, including hours, wages, and social security 
benefits. The minimum wage is approximately $42.50 per month, 
which could provide a "decent" standard of living, if it went 
to support only one person. However, many wage earners 
support extended families. Health and safety standards vary, 
depending upon the category of work, but there is limited 
enforcement due to the lack of inspectors. Employers are 
required to pay into a national social security fund. 



212 



MAURITANIA 



The Islamic Republic of Mauritania has been governed since 
1978 by the Military Committee for National Salvation (CMSN) . 
Colonel Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, President of the 
Committee and Chief of State, assumed power in 1984 after the 
bloodless ouster of the former president, Lt . Col. Mohamed 
Khouna Ould Haidalla. All 19 members of the Military 
Committee hold ministerial portfolios or occupy other key 
military or government positions. The Committee functions as 
a legislative body, whereas the President, assisted by a few 
close advisors, wields the executive power. Political and 
opposition parties are not allowed in Mauritania. 

The security forces number about 16,000 and, in addition to 
the regular armed forces, include the national guard, the 
gendarmerie (a specialized corps of paramilitary police), and 
the police. The national guard, gendarmerie, and police all 
have internal security functions. In 1987 and 1988, the 
Government purged security forces of hundreds of suspected 
dissidents . 

Mauritania continues to face massive economic and social 
problems: droughts and desertification, the Western Sahara 
conflict, ethnic tensions, extensive unemployment, one of the 
highest per capita foreign debts in Africa, poor 
infrastructure, inadequate health and education systems, and a 
mass exodus from rural areas. Although adequate rains fell in 
recent years, the prior drought years forced large numbers of 
nomads into towns. This forced migration resulted in urban 
refugee camps, a weakening of traditional Maur nomadic 
culture, and a severe strain on government resources. 
According to government estimates, 20 years ago 85 percent of 
the population was nomadic; in 1987 only 15 percent remained 
in the desert. 

President Taya has publicly advocated a harmonious, 
multiethnic society. The tensions between Mauritania's 
Toucouleur black African ethnic group and the ruling 
Arab-Berber population, however, continued in 1988 and 
resulted in serious human rights abuses. In the wake of the 
1986 unrest and the 1987 coup plot led by Toucouleur military 
personnel, the Government in several trials sentenced 3 to 
death and 78 to various prison terms including life 
imprisonment. The Government carried out the death sentences 
swiftly and moved all the convicted Toucouleurs to a prison in 
the remote desert town of Oualata. The Government also 
dismissed from the security forces several hundred Toucouleurs 
it suspected of involvement in the plot. Conditions at the 
desert prison in Oualata were so harsh that at least four 
Toucouleurs died since September 1988. During the first 6 
months of 1988, the Government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew 
in Boghe, a predominantly Toucouleur urban area of over 30,000 
that is the hometown of many of the plotters, and imposed 
tight restrictions on travel to and from the city. Many 
Mauritanian black Africans interpreted the Government's 
actions to mean continued discrimination and domination by the 
Maurs of the country's political, social, and economic life. 
In 1988 the Government also faced opposition within the Maur 
community. In September it tried 16 alleged Baathist 
ringleaders for conspiring with a foreign power to threaten 
the security of the State. 



213 

MAURITANIA 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of politically motivated killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Mauritanian law proscribes the use of torture. There were, 
however, recurring credible reports during the summer of 1988 
that the security forces used torture to extract confessions 
from Baathist activists. Moreover, in an anticrime drive in 
Nouakchott, there were reports that police used torture to 
force suspects to admit to certain crimes. There were more 
reports of mistreatment of prisoners in 1988 than at any other 
time during the Taya regime. 

During most of 1988 the Toucouleurs imprisoned at Oualata were 
held in very harsh conditions. They were reportedly kept in 
chains in poorly ventilated cells and were only allowed to 
leave the cells for a few minutes each day. They were denied 
sufficient food, water, and adequate medical care, any change 
of clothing for months, and sanitary facilities, which forced 
them to use the cells as toilets and facilitated the spread of 
disease. The prisoners' families were denied permission to 
visit. In late 1988, at least four inmates died and several 
others were reportedly in serious condition. One of these 
inmates, an elderly person already in poor health before his 
transfer to Oualata, may have died of old age. Another 
reportedly died of malnutrition, and a third of malaria. 

The cramped and unsanitary cells at Oualata are typical of all 
Mauritanian prisons. The poor medical care is largely 
attributable to the dearth of medical personnel and facilities 
in the remote desert town of Oualata. While some of the 
abuses were triggered by the poorly supervised guards, it 
appears the authorities in Nouakchott reacted slowly to 
reports about the deteriorating health of several prisoners. 
Moreover, the decision to deny the prisoners family visits was 
reportedly taken by the central authorities in Nouakchott. 
The Government has since announced steps aimed at correcting 
these problems. The responsible prison director has been 
dismissed and arrested and is awaiting disciplinary action. A 
doctor was sent to Oualata to treat the prisoners. A few 
weeks later, the Government transferred most of the Toucouleur 
prisoners to less remote prisons and provided better medical 
facilities. It also promised to let the prisoners receive 
family visits, although such visits had not taken place by the 
end of 1988. 

In the spring, high school students staged several days of 
violent demonstrations to protest modifications of the 
national university entrance examination. The police arrested 
several dozen students, some of whom were beaten before they 
were released. 



214 



MAURITANIA 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Mauritanian law assures expeditious arraignment and trial, 
access to legal counsel, and the right of appeal. The courts 
must review the legality of a person's detention no more than 
72 hours after his or her arrest. There is no system of 
bail. Compliance with the law is spotty, however. In late 
1987 and 1988, the Government detained persons, sometimes for 
prolonged periods, without formally filing charges against 
them. For example, in September 1987, the Government 
dismissed and detained without charge for more than 6 months 
the three top financial figures in the Government for their 
alleged involvement in the illegal transfer of funds abroad. 
Similarly, in late 1987 and 1988, the Government interrogated 
at length and detained without charge for days, in some cases 
for weeks, scores of Baathist and Toucouleur activists whom it 
suspected of subversion. 

Internal exile is a method of removing opposition figures from 
the public eye. Former President Haidalla and five of his 
associates who were arrested during the 1984 coup, but never 
formally charged, remain in internal exile in remote locations. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Taya Government continues to function under the Shari'a 
(Islamic law) put in place during the Haidalla regime. The 
Ministry of Justice plays the major role in administering the 
Shari'a and selecting judicial personnel. The Shari'a applies 
to most crimes and offenses, with the exception of commercial 
and banking offenses, traffic violations that cause bodily 
harm, and offenses against the security of the State. These 
three categories of offenses are all handled by the special 
court, which renders its judgments on the basis of laws 
modeled after French law. The Taya administration has urged 
the Islamic judges not to use extreme physical punishments, 
such as amputations, which occurred during the Haidalla 
regime. The Taya Government is slowly eliminating a number of 
ungualified Shari'a judges who were appointed during the 
Haidalla years. By virtue of a recent government decision, 
judges cannot be tenured before 7 years. 

While trials in the ordinary courts are public, the State 
Security Court, which tries offenses against state security, 
may conduct secret trials. All defendants, regardless of the 
court, have the right to be present with legal counsel during 
the proceedings. If necessary, the latter is provided counsel 
at public expense. Defendants may confront witnesses and 
present evidence. They may appeal the sentences of the 
ordinary courts but not those of the security court. While 
the judiciary is nominally independent, some observers claim 
that judges sometimes take their cue from the Government when 
sentencing opponents of the regime. 

In September 1988, the State Security Court tried in an open 
proceeding 16 alleged ringleaders of Mauritania's clandestine 
Baathist Party. The defendants were accused of having ties 
with a foreign power, forming a clandestine organization 
within the armed forces that threatened the security of the 
State, and not denouncing subversive activities. The Court 
sentenced 13 of the accused to prison sentences of from 2 to 5 
years and acquitted 3 in a public trial that, in contrast to 
the security trials of 1986, many observers considered fair. 



215 



MAURITANIA 

f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Government interference in private affairs is limited, except 
in instances where treason is suspected. Reflecting the 
nomadic penchant for privacy, the lack of sophisticated 
equipment to undertake surveillance, and the isolation of many 
parts of the country, the Government normally limits its 
surveillance to patrols on major highways and customs 
checkpoints, occasional nighttime inspections of vehicular 
traffic, and inspections of mail suspected of containing 
currency or prohibited items. Under Mauritanian law, the 
police require warrants to perform home searches, although 
this requirement is more often honored in the breach. During 
an anticrime drive in mid-1988, there were reliable reports of 
random beatings at checkpoints and frequent house searches, 
directed in particular at black Africans. The Government 
maintains an active informer system that closely monitors 
persons suspected of antiregime activities. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press: 

Freedom of speech and press is restricted. Mauritanians 
criticize government policies in conversations with friends 
and relatives, and they do not appear especially inhibited in 
speaking with foreigners. Military personnel are under tight 
surveillance, however, and views expressed privately that 
could be construed as even mildly critical of the Government 
are likely to be the subject of intense interrogation by 
military security officers. The Government is quick to react 
to any public comments it thinks pose a threat to the security 
of the State, as evidenced by the crackdowns on Toucouleur and 
Baathist dissidents. Many of those arrested or convicted 
during the crackdowns, including journalist Ibrahima Sarr, 
former Minister of Health and Social Affairs Djibo Tafsirou, 
and university lecturer Saidou Kane, were targets because they 
had printed or distributed literature that criticized the 
Government. In particular, the Government responds sharply to 
any expression of ethnic dissatisfaction or questioning of the 
Government's legitimacy. 

Private discussions within the family or tribe are active and 
used as a vehicle to present dissenting views. President Taya 
invites views of traditional local leaders during his visits 
to rural areas. 

Mauritania's only daily newspaper and the radio and television 
stations are government owned and operated. In the past, the 
Government did not allow any media criticism of government 
policies or authority. But in 1987 and 1988, the Government 
experimented by permitting a panel to interview government 
officials on television. In these broadcasts, the authorities 
tolerated limited criticism of government decisions and 
policies. In early 1988, the Government authorized the 
publication of two privately owned monthly magazines, 
Mauritanie Demain and L'Evenement. While these publications 
have on occasion discussed controversial social issues, they 
have refrained from any criticism of the Government. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association: 

Mauritanian law recognizes the rights of assembly and 
association, but since the 1978 coup the Government has banned 



90-641 - 89 - 8 



216 



MAURITANIA 

all political movements and generally prohibited meetings of a 
political nature. Any formal grouping must be registered with 
the Minister of Interior. The Government usually does not 
interfere with assemblies and associations as long as they 
avoid political activity. The Government did, however, allow 
large but controlled demonstrations and rallies to take place 
during the 1986-87 and 1987-88 campaigns for local municipal 
counci Is . 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Islam is the official religion of Mauritania. Virtually all 
citizens are Muslim. Mauritanian Muslims are prohibited from 
entering non-Islamic houses of worship and from converting to 
another religion. Proselytizing by non-Muslims and the 
construction of Christian churches and other non-Islamic 
houses of worship are prohibited without government permission. 

The Roman Catholic community in Mauritania has five churches 
which operate freely as long as they restrict their services 
to resident foreigners. However, in 1988 the authorities 
clamped down on the Catholic Church's programs, which started 
in 1982, to conduct catechism classes (and occasional masses) 
in a house the Church had rented for this purpose in one of 
Nouakchott's poorer neighborhoods. Those using the house were 
non-Maur itanian black Africans from several West African 
countries. In the summer, the police raided the house, 
confiscated some religious material, and detained several 
persons who were present at the site. While these persons 
were subsequently released, the authorities have since 
prevented the Church from using the house for religious 
purposes. The authorities have not given the Church any 
explanation for this change in policy. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation: 

There are habitually no restrictions on movement within this 
large country, where nomadism long was the prevailing way of 
life. Travelers, however, are subjected to routine police and 
customs checks along major highways and at the country's 
international and domestic airports. 

During times of political unrest, such as after the abortive 
Toucouleur plot of late 1987 or during the 1988 crackdown 
against Baathist dissidents, the Government imposes a curfew 
at night in the major cities. In addition, during the first 6 
months of 1988, the Government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew 
in Boghe, a Toucouleur stronghold and the hometown of many of 
the plotters involved in the abortive 1987 plot. 

Since 1985 Mauritanians no longer need an exit visa to travel 
abroad. In 1987, however, the spouse of one of the Toucouleur 
prisoners held at Oualata was denied a passport when she 
sought to travel abroad. The Government has invited back the 
political leaders who fled into exile prior to 1985, and 
almost all have returned. During the 1988 crackdown on 
Toucouleur dissidents, some activists fled the country and are 
now in exile. 



217 



MAURITANIA 

As a result of the ongoing conflict in neighboring Western 
Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, a small number 
of refugees from the Western Sahara have settled in Nouadhibou 
and other northern towns. There are, however, no acknowledged 
political refugees in Mauritania. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

In practice, citizens of Mauritania are unable democratically 
to change their Government at the national level. All 
political power rests in the hands of the military regime. 
The Military Committee for National Salvation (CMSN) remains 
the "custodian of the nation's sovereignty." All executive 
and legislative functions reside with the Committee. 
Membership is limited to military officers who occupy 
ministerial positions or important military and security 
posts. The CMSN is predominantly Maur, although several 
members of Mauritania's black African ethnic groups are 
members. The most prominent Toucouleur on the CMSN lost his 
position in the wake of the 1986 Toucouleur unrest. 

The Government uses a quasi-political organization, the 
Structure for the Education of the Masses (SEM) , to mobilize 
the people to carry out local improvement projects, to relay 
policy statements, and to serve as a channel to discuss 
grievances. SEM's are found at all governmental levels down 
to villages and neighborhoods. In practice, most grievances 
are discussed at the family or tribal level and passed along 
to influential governmental figures of the same family or 
tribe. 

A limited move toward popular participation in local 
government has occurred since 1986 in a series of elections 
for city councils throughout the country. All Mauritanian 
residents of these localities aged 21 and over were entitled 
to vote; the ballot was secret. In most localities, two or 
more slates of candidates competed for the electorate's vote. 
The Government stipulated that each slate must comprise people 
from different ethnic groups and tribes. Campaigning was 
vigorous, and candidates were allowed to use the media to 
spread their views. Candidates could only discuss municipal 
issues, however, and could not address larger political 
issues. In most locations the elections appear to have been 
fair, but there were credible reports that local authorities 
in several towns, including the Toucouleur town of Boghe, 
prevented some slates from holding rallies and denied their 
supporters the electoral cards they needed to vote. 

Despite these electoral shortcomings, the newly elected 
municipal councils have evolved into genuine decisionmaking 
bodies, handling most municipal issues wijth little central 
government interference. The Government j^lans to hold further 
municipal elections in 164 rural communes; in early January 
1989. 

A woman was recently appointed as Minister of Women's Affairs, 
Crafts and Tourism, and a number of others have moved into 
senior or midlevel government positions. Although few women 
were on the lists of municipal council candidates, large 
numbers of women turned out for the election rallies in 
support of their candidates. 



218 



MAURITANIA 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Taya Government is responsive to human right concerns, and 
it has cooperated with the U.N. Human Rights Commission 
Working Group on Slavery by allowing a representative to come 
to Mauritania to obtain information on this issue. In 1987 
the Government permitted representatives of Amnesty 
International (AI) to visit Nouakchott for discussions on the 
Toucouleur issue and in September 1988 allowed a 
representative of AI to attend the trial of the Baathist 
activists. Also in 1988, a delegation from the International 
Commission of Jurists and the Chairman of the African Jurists 
Association visited Mauritania to review human rights 
practices. 

As a result of President Taya ' s public commitment to an 
ethnically harmonious society and a return to basic human 
rights, the Mauritanian Human Rights League was formed in 
1986. The League, which is affiliated with the Paris-based 
International Federation of Human Rights, is staffed by 
volunteers who work within the government framework to address 
such concerns as eradicating the last vestiges of slavery, 
ensuring the uniform application of Shari'a law, promoting the 
status of women, and preventing abuses such as arbitrary 
arrest and torture. While constrained by a lack of financial 
resources and careful not to antagonize the Government, the 
League has nonetheless insisted that the rights of all 
prisoners be respected, and its observers monitored the 
security trials in 1987 and 1988. In November the League 
issued a public communique, published in the media, which 
criticized the Government for failing to allow the League or 
family members to visit the prisoners at Oualata and requested 
an official inquiry into the deaths of the four prisoners. 
Some black African Mauritanians , however, have alleged that 
the League, the majority of whose members are Maur, is biased 
against Mauritania's black African ethnic groups. 

In March the Mauritanian Human Rights League hosted the first 
Conference on Maghreban Human Rights, which was attended by an 
Algerian human rights organization and Moroccan human rights 
activists. Observers from the Mauritanian Ministry of Justice 
and AI also attended. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Mauritania is situated geographically and culturally on the 
divide between the Arabic-speaking Maurs of the north and the 
sedentary blacks of the African south. The interaction of 
these two groups produces the complex cultural diversity which 
fuels ethnic and racial tensions inherent in Mauritanian 
society. Recent movements of nomads to the south as a result 
of the drought have exacerbated tensions, culminating in the 
1986 Toucouleur agitation and the subsequent arrest of 
Toucouleur activists. Historically, and especially since 
independence in 1960, the Arabic-speaking white Maurs have 
dominated the political and economic system. Taken together, 
however, the Arabic-speaking black Maurs and Mauritania's 
black African groups (Toucouleur, Soninke, and Wolof) 
constitute a clear majority of the population. Although this 
black majority is by no means cohesive--the black Maurs, for 
example, identify in many ways more closely with the white 
Maurs--many blacks believe they are entitled to more political 



219 



MAURITANIA 

representation. The black population is represented at all 
levels of government, although it is underrepresented in 
relation to its proportion of the population. 

Many Toucouleurs also believe that white Maur domination in 
government, state enterprises, business, and religious 
institutions is a result of racial discrimination. Their 
grievances include such issues as language (Arabic rather than 
continued use of French), limitations on educational 
opportunities, and misapplication of the law on land reform. 
They view the Government's new land reform law as a means of 
allowing wealthy white Maurs access to potentially productive 
tracts of land in traditionally Toucouleur areas. The loss by 
some sedentary African blacks of large tracts of land in the 
Senegal River Valley area has resulted in a scramble by 
Toucouleurs and other southern blacks to register their land 
with the appropriate authorities, an alien practice for people 
who traditionally have looked upon land as community property. 

Women in conservative Mauritanian Muslim society are often 
limited to traditional roles, especially outside the few urban 
areas. Only half as many women as men avail themselves of 
educational opportunities. Nevertheless, the Government is 
encouraging the entry of women into the professions, 
government, and business. In addition, the Government has 
been opening up new opportunities for employment in work 
traditionally reserved for men, e.g., certain jobs in 
hospitals. According to Mauritanian labor laws, men and women 
must receive equal pay for equal work. Mauritania's two 
largest employers, the civil service and the state mining 
company SNIM, respect this law. In smaller private 
enterprises, wages are often determined by informal 
bargaining, leading to sometimes significant discrepancies in 
what two persons are paid for the same work. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers are free to establish unions at the local and national 
level. There are currently 33 trade unions in the country. 
All, however, must be affiliates of the Union of Mauritanian 
Workers (UTM) , by law the country's only central labor body. 
The trade unions and the UTM elect their leadership 
democratically, and they are free to determine their programs 
and policies, provided these avoid political issues. The UTM 
is an active member of the International Confederation of Arab 
Trade Unions and the Organization of African Trade Union Unity 
and represents Mauritanian workers in the International Labor 
Organization. 

Mauritanian law grants workers the right to strike. In 
practice, however, the Government discourages strikes, and 
they rarely occur. Under Mauritanian law, tripartite 
arbitration committees, composed of union, business, and 
government representatives, may impose binding arbitration 
that automatically terminates any strike. 

The UTM, which once played a significant role in Mauritanian 
economic and social life, has been paralyzed for the past 
several years by bitter factional disputes. Under government 
prodding, however, the UTM planned to hold elections and a 
national UTM congress to resolve these disputes and elect a 
new national leadership, but these had not taken place by the 
end of 1988. 



220 



MAURITANIA 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions are free to organize workers without government or 
employer interference. The laws providing workers protection 
against antiunion discrimination are regularly enforced. 
Collective bargaining, notably to set wages, occurs informally 
between individual unions, employers, the Government, and the 
UTM. In addition, employees or employers may bring labor 
disputes to three-person labor courts that are overseen 
jointly by the Ministries of Justice and Labor. Labor leaders 
regard these courts as unbiased and effective. There are no 
export processing zones in Mauritania, and labor laws are 
applied uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The subject of forced labor is tied to the vestiges of slavery 
which exist in some areas of the country. Slavery in 
Mauritania was officially abolished in 1980. Nevertheless, 
some persons whose ancestors had worked without pay for 
generations for a particular family still occupied positions 
of servitude in 1988, in part because of the economic 
hardships they would have encountered had they left. In 
certain remote areas, however, persons were sometimes held 
against their will and forced to perform unpaid labor. The 
authorities stop such practices when they come to their 
attention. The Taya regime is making a systematic effort to 
appoint members of the former slave caste to high government 
and military positions as a visible indication of the end of 
slavery. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Education is not compulsory in Mauritania; however, by law no 
child may be employed before the age of 14 in the agricultural 
sector without the permission of the Minister of Labor and the 
National Labor Council, nor before the age of 15 in 
nonagricultural sectors. The law provides that employed 
children aged 14 to 16 years should receive 70 percent of the 
minimum wage, and those from 17 to 18 receive 90 percent of 
the minimum wage. Although there are no figures available, 
child labor (except in the family owned agricultural sector) 
is not widespread. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

In 1988 the guaranteed minimum wage for adults was equivalent 
to $70 per month. These wages barely enabled the average 
family to meet its minimum needs. The standard, non- 
agricultural workweek in Mauritania cannot exceed either 40 
hours or 6 days without overtime compensation, which is paid 
at the following rates: 41-48 hours--115 percent; 49-54 
hours--140 percent; 55-plus hours--150 percent of the base 
wage. However, information on actual wage levels is scanty 
and often unreliable. Enforcement of the labor laws is the 
responsibility of the Labor Inspectorate, Ministry of Labor, 
but in practice is limited by the shortage of trained 
personnel . 



221 



MAURITIUS 



Mauritius is a small, densely populated island nation with a 
functioning parliamentary democracy modeled after that of 
Great Britain. It is governed by a prime minister, council of 
ministers, and legislative assembly. The Governor General, 
with largely ceremonial powers, represents Queen Elizabeth II, 
the titular Head of State. Elections at national and local 
levels take place at regular intervals. There are four major 
political parties, reflecting a wide range of ideological 
views, and several smaller parties. Executive power has 
changed hands twice in the last 7 years through fair and 
orderly elections supervised by an independent commission. 
Municipal elections in October 1988 renewed the main 
opposition party's control of the five largest cities. Prime 
Minister Jugnauth's coalition had its mandate renewed in 
general elections in August 1987. 

Mauritius has no military forces and depends on the 
paramilitary 700-man Special Mobile Force and the 240-man 
Special Support Unit for internal security. These forces, 
under the command of the Commissioner of Police, are 
apolitical, well-trained, and backed by a general duty police 
force of approximately 4,000 men. 

Mauritius has a mixed economy, based on sugar production, 
tourism, and textiles, with a strong private sector. In 1988 
the economy continued its growth, registering an estimated 5-7 
percent growth rate and creating some 12,000 jobs. The World 
Bank estimates Mauritian gross national product per capita at 
$1,470. Mauritius has followed a successful path of 
structural adjustment with private sector stimulation, 
especially in furthering exports through its free trade zone. 
Gross domestic product has grown from $991 million in 1985 to 
$1.5 billion in 1988. Unemployment has dropped from 22 
percent in 1982 to 4 percent currently. 

Mauritius has a good human rights record. Political and civil 
rights, including the freedoms of speech and press, are 
protected under the Constitution and respected in practice. 
Mauritius' judiciary is independent, the legislature plays an 
increasingly active role in shaping national policy, religious 
freedom is respected, and there is an active labor movement. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearance of persons for 
political causes. 

c. Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Torture and inhuman punishment are prohibited by law, and 
there were no reports of such treatment. 



222 



MAURITIUS 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

There have been no reports of arbitrary arrests or detentions 
since the early 1970's. Detained persons have the right to a 
judicial determination of the legality of their detention. In 
practice, this determination is usually made within 24 hours. 
Bail is commonly granted. In 1986 the Supreme Court ruled 
invalid a section of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1986 which had 
provided for detention without bail for persons arrested under 
Clause 46(2) of the Act. 

Exile is legally prohibited. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Mauritius' judicial system, modeled on that of Great Britain, 
consists of the Supreme Court, which has appellate powers, and 
a series of lower courts. Final appeal may be made to the 
Queen's Privy Council in the United Kingdom and is routinely 
made in the cases of death sentences. There are no political 
or military courts. The judiciary is independent. The 
Governor General nominates the Chief Justice, in consultation 
with the Prime Minister, and nominates the senior puisne 
(associate) judges in consultation with the Chief Justice. 
The Governor General nominates other judges on the advice of 
the Judicial and Legal Service Commissions. The legal system 
has consistently provided fair, public trials to those charged 
with crimes. Defendants have the right to private or 
court-appointed counsel. The judiciary is also charged under 
the Constitution with ensuring that new laws are consistent 
with democratic practice. There are no political prisoners in 
Mauritius . 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The sanctity of the home is guaranteed by law and generally 
respected in practice. The search of personal property or 
premises is allowed only under clearly specified conditions by 
court order or by police decision if an illegal act has been 
committed in the presence of a police officer. There have 
been reports from reliable sources that the Government's 
intelligence apparatus occasionally opens mail and carries out 
surveillance of local opposition leaders and other major 
figures . 

In October 1986, the Legislative Assembly amended the 
Constitution with regard to drug traffickers and drug 
trafficking in Mauritius. The legislation increased the 
powers of any commission of inguiry to look into personal 
finances, including bank accounts; provided for fines of 
persons who refuse to testify; provided for fining a bank and 
revoking its license if it refuses to cooperate in a financial 
investigation; and provided for the seizure of all assets of 
convicted drug traffickers who cannot prove that the assets in 
question were obtained legally. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedom of speech and press is protected by the Constitution 
and by local tradition. Sixteen privately owned daily, 
weekly, and monthly newspapers present varying political 



223 



MAURITIUS 

viewpoints and freely express partisan views. Newspapers are 
subject only to the legal constraints of libel laws. The 
Government owns the one television and two radio stations (one 
strictly educational), broadcasting in five languages. The 
television and radio are reasonably objective in news and 
entertainment presentation, although opposition politicians 
occasionally accuse the broadcasting corporation of political 
bias in its news coverage. Television and radio broadcasts 
are also easily received without interference from the nearby 
island of Reunion (a French Department). The Government can 
review foreign broadcast program material and may delete 
segments considered offensive to local mores or politically 
sensitive. The Government sometimes delays the broadcast of 
local religious ceremonies. Academic freedom is respected. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Mauritians enjoy the right to form associations, including 
political parties, trade unions, and religious organizations. 
Mauritius has a multitude of such private organizations. 
Political, cultural, and religious assemblies are common- 
place. Although police permission is required for holding 
demonstrations and mass meetings, such permission is rarely 
refused. The registered political parties freely held large 
public rallies during the campaign for the August 1987 general 
elections and the October 1988 municipal elections. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no official state religion in Mauritius. Hindus, 
Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and others openly practice, 
teach, and proselytize their religions without prejudice. All 
religious institutions receive state subsidies in proportion 
to their memberships. There is no state-sanctioned 
discrimination against any ethnic or religious community. 
Foreign clergy require work permits, which are processed on a 
case-by-case basis. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

There are no restrictions on full freedom of movement within 
the country. Foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation are 
also unrestricted. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Mauritius is governed by a freely elected, unicameral 
Legislative Assembly, with executive direction coming from a 
Council of Ministers, currently headed by Prime Minister Sir 
Anerood Jugnauth whose Alliance coalition won elections in 
1983 and 1987. The Governor General has the right to 
designate the person charged with forming a new government 
following parliamentary elections or a parliamentary crisis. 
Parliamentary, municipal, and village council elections are 
held at regular intervals. Voting and running for office are 
rights of all citizens 18 years of age and over. In the 
Legislative Assembly, 8 of the 70 members are appointed 
through a complex "best loser" system designed in part to 
ensure that all ethnic groups are adequately represented. The 
governing Alliance coalition consists of 3 parties and 
controls 41 of the 70 seats. Political parties often match 
the ethnicity or religion of their candidates to the 
composition of particular electoral constituencies. The 



224 



MAURITIUS 

majority Hindus, by virtue of their number, tend to dominate 
the national political scene and the civil service. Five of 
70 members of the Legislative Assembly and 2 of 18 Ministers 
are women. 

In the August 1987 parliamentary elections, 89 percent of the 
553,364 eligible voters cast ballots. Only 9,512 votes 
separated the winning and losing coalitions. The opposition 
controls the five major municipalities, and government parties 
did not contest the October 25, 1988 municipal elections. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigations of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

There have been no known requests by international 
organizations to investigate human rights violations in 
Mauritius. Amnesty International maintains two branches in 
Mauritius. There are several local human rights groups which 
address the internal situation in Mauritius without 
governmental intrusion. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Women in Mauritius participate in all types of political, 
business, and social activities, and a few hold important 
positions. Nonetheless, traditional ethnic and religious 
attitudes hamper women in achieving true parity. The 
Government seeks to improve the status of women, and recent 
amendments to laws ranging from emigration to inheritance have 
removed sex discriminatory sections. An interminister ial 
committee, headed by one of the female ministers, has been 
active since 1985 in addressing remaining discriminatory 
elements in local laws and practices. Nevertheless, 
discriminatory laws and regulations remain, including 
prohibition against women serving on juries. 

Moreover, the illiteracy rate for women (20 percent in 1983) 
is about twice that of men. While women are highly sought for 
employment in manufacturing plants, they tend to occupy the 
less skilled and lower paid positions and are particularly 
susceptible to layoffs during economic downturns. Twice as 
many women as men were employed in the Export Processing Zone 
as of March 1987, according to the Central Statistical 
Office. The average industrial salary for women is about 50 
percent that of men. The Minister for Labor and Industrial 
Relations, Women's Rights, and Family Welfare has indicated, 
however, that middle management training for women is one of 
her ministry's priorities. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Mauritius has an active trade union movement. Almost 300 
unions, for the most part grouped in 9 umbrella organizations, 
represent about 100,000 workers, more than one-fourth of the 
work force. Unions are free to organize workers in all 
sectors, including the Export Processing Zone (EPZ), which 
employs about 90,000 workers. The EPZ is a remarkably 
successful free trade zone in which goods and materials are 
imported free of duty, processed with Mauritian labor, and 
reexported. Unions can press wage demands, establish ties to 
domestic political parties and international organizations. 



225 



MAURITIUS 

and address political issues. Tnree of the five trade union 
activists who ran in the 1987 general elections were elected 
to the Legislative Assembly on the government slate. One 
leading federation actively supports the opposition party. 
The largest confederation, the Mauritian Labor Congress, is a 
member of the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions. It and three other national labor centers belong to 
the Organization of African Trade Union Unity. 

In theory, unions have the right to strike. However, in labor 
disputes, the Industrial Relations Act (IRA), patterned after 
a British model, requires a prestrike, 21-day cooling-off 
period followed by binding arbitration, which has the effect 
of making most strikes illegal. Refusal to follow IRA 
procedures in a mid-1988 textile plant strike led to the 
imprisonment of three union leaders for several days. The 
Government supported labor/management negotiations which 
resulted in the reemployment of most of the striking workers. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Unions possess the right to organize and bargain 
collectively. Mauritian labor legislation, including the 
Industrial Relations Act, applies equally to the Export 
Processing Zone as it does to the rest of the labor sector and 
has been enforced with equal vigor. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

The Constitution prohibits any form of forced or compulsory 
labor, and this prohibition is observed. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Children below the age of 14 cannot be legally employed, 
although scattered cases of child labor are reported. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Conditions of employment in Mauritius, including wage and 
leave conditions, are generally sufficient to afford an 
acceptable standard of living for workers in the agricultural, 
service, and manufacturing sectors. Government, private 
welfare groups, and labor unions serve as watchdogs on 
potential employer abuses. A maximum workweek of 45 hours is 
allowed. The Government mandates minimum wage increases each 
year, based on inflation. The current minimum wage for 
unskilled labor in the Export Processing Zone is $8 per week 
during the first year and $10 per week thereafter. 

In 1987 the Government awarded a wage increase (12.6 percent) 
in the public service. Pay increases (10.15 percent) were 
also approved for the private sector, including the sugar 
industry and the EPZ . At the same time, the Government 
addressed the issue of overtime work in the EPZ due to 
complaints that EPZ employers imposed long hours of overtime 
on employees--about 10 to 20 hours per week, making for a 55- 
to 65-hour workweek. In the revised remuneration orders of 
July 1, 1987, the Government stipulated that no employee would 
be required to perform extra hours of work in excess of 10 
hours per week, except with his or her consent. In addition, 
new remuneration rates for overtime (above the regular 45-hour 
week) were introduced. In addition to wages, the Government 
also increased the social benefits to old age pensioners. 



226 



MAURITIUS 

unemployed persons, widows and orphans, and handicapped 
persons. A commission on salaries headed by British expert 
Donald Chesworth recommended salary increases, especially at 
middle and lower levels, that would cost approximately $42 
million. The Government decided to implement the report and 
to pay the arrears for the July-October 1988 period in 
November 1988. The unions have been generally satisfied with 
the Government's action, but some economists are concerned 
about the inflationary impact of the increases. 



227 



MOZAMBIQUE 

Mozambique is a one-party state led by President Joaquim 
Alberto Chissano. The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique 
(FRELIMO) , the only party allowed, is the key decisionmaking 
organ. Under Mozambique's Constitution, President Chissano is 
also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and is empowered 
to appoint most government officials. The Council of 
Ministers, headed by Prime Minister Mario Machungo, is 
responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Government. 
The 249-member national legislature, the People's Assembly, 
has limited influence: it meets for 1-week sessions twice a 
year to debate and approve legislation proposed by the 
Government. A self -proclaimed Marxist-Leninist party at its 
inception, FRELIMO in recent years has pursued pragmatic 
domestic policies, and in foreign policy has gradually moved 
towards a more genuinely nonaligned position. President 
Chissano has concentrated on dealing with the economic and 
political realities of catastrophic drought and civil 
conflict, which together have destroyed much of the economic 
and social infrastructure and caused widespread civilian 
dislocations and casualties. 

The security forces include the Armed Forces of Mozambique 
(FPLM), numbering about 60,000 soldiers, a People's Militia, 
and the Mozambican National Security Service (SNASP) . Since 
the late 1970 's the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) 
has waged a guerrilla war against the Government, resulting in 
the death of tens of thousands of civilians. RENAMO ' s 
strength is estimated at between 12,000 to 22,000 armed men; 
it is active in all of Mozambique's 10 provinces. 

RENAMO, originally the creation of the Rhodesian intelligence 
service, has historically received support from the South 
African Government. In September President Chissano met with 
South African President Botha in an effort to revive the 1984 
Nkomati Accord, which committed their countries to cease 
hostile acts against one another and to increase economic 
cooperation. In 1988 the Government received the predominant 
share of its military assistance from the Soviet Union and its 
allies. However, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Zambia also 
provided military training and assistance, and other Western 
donors provided nonlethal assistance. Zimbabwe maintained 
from 5,000 to 8,000 troops in Mozambique in order to protect 
the Beira Corridor and other vital areas. In addition, 
Tanzania had between 500 and 2,500 troops in Zambezia 
province, which were withdrawn by the end of November, and 
Malawi had 600 to 1,000 soldiers along the Nacala railway line. 

The Government's economic reform program progressed on 
schedule in 1988. As part of World Bank and International 
Monetary Fund programs, the Government implemented further 
currency devaluations and other measures to deregulate the 
economy. The vast majority of Mozambicans are engaged in 
subsistence farming. However, due to drought and the civil 
conflict, over 1 million persons have been displaced within 
the country, and, in addition, an estimated 1 million 
Mozambicans have sought refuge in neighboring countries. 
Altogether, close to 6 million persons, out of a total 
population of 14 million, are affected by the ongoing 
emergency. International donors pledged nearly $250 million 
in emergency aid at a conference in Maputo in April. 

In 1988 human rights in Mozambique, e.g., freedoms of speech, 
press, and assembly, continued to be tightly circumscribed by 



228 



MOZAMBIQUE 

the one-party structure, and there remained serious human 
rights problems due to the civil conflict, now in its 12th 
year. Thousands of Mozambicans have been killed in the 
continuing civil conflict, with some estimates as high as 
100,000 killed by RENAMO alone. Civilians reported many 
abuses by RENAMO; there were also some reports of abuses by 
Mozambican forces. A credible 1987-1988 study (cited as 
"Report on Mozambican Refugees") by an independent consultant, 
Robert Gersony, based on interviews with 200 displaced persons 
within Mozambique and with refugees in neighboring countries, 
documented a pattern of atrocities by RENAMO against 
civilians, including summary executions, mass kidnapings, 
forced labor, rapes, robbery, mass murders, mutilations, and 
torture. Against this tragic background, the Government took 
some important conciliatory steps to improve human rights in 
1988. It ordered the return of expropriated church property 
and also reaffirmed its commitment to religious freedom during 
a Papal visit in September. It granted full amnesty to almost 
3,000 RENAMO guerrillas according to government figures, gave 
pardons to hundreds of people detained under security laws, 
and tightened military discipline and revamped the military 
justice system. It permitted the International Committee of 
the Red Cross (ICRC) to begin a program of prison visits and 
to conmence food relief flights into areas of conflict. 
Within the one-party system, there was a trend toward more 
open discussion and broader participation. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

Both government forces and RENAMO have been responsible for 
the deaths of civilians in the course of the conflict between 
them. There were no estimates of killings in 1988 by 
government forces, but there have been credible reports, 
including allegations by refugees, of abuses by FRELIMO 
forces. However, it appears that these abuses are 
attributable to undisciplined forces and do not reflect a 
systematic policy. 

Atrocities by RENAMO against defenseless civilians have been 
well documented from a number of governmental and 
nongovernmental sources, including missionaries, international 
organizations, and emergency relief workers. The "Report on 
Mozambican Refugees" conservatively estimated that 100,000 
civilians had been murdered by RENAMO alone during the 
conflict. While there were no massacres in 1988 as dramatic 
as that at Homoine in 1987, where 424 persons were killed, 
there were confirmed reports of defenseless civilians 
deliberately killed by RENAMO in attacks throughout the 
country (as, for example at Guija in Gaza province in January, 
at Xai-Xai in Gaza province in August, and near Manica in 
Maputo province in August) . 

The former Secretary General of RENAMO, Evo Fernandes, was 
murdered in Lisbon, apparently for political reasons; 
however, both RENAMO and the Government denied involvement in 
the Fernandes murder. There were no additional reports of 
politically motivated killings in 1988 not attributable to the 
conflict. There were no reports of public executions. 



229 

MOZAMBIQUE 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of government-perpetrated disappearances 
in 1988. However, security forces, principally SNASP, acting 
under security legislation, often held detainees incommunicado 
for extended periods, and relatives and friends have no way of 
knowing what has happened to the missing. In an important 
step, the Government authorized prison visits by the ICRC in 
1988. When fully implemented, the ICRC program may provide 
security detainees and prisoners with a system for 
communicating with their families. Amnesty International 
stated that, despite repeated requests, the Government has not 
provided information about the fate of a number of prisoners 
sent to reeducation camps in the mid-1970s. 

The "Report on Mozambican Refugees" documented a pattern of 
kidnaping defenseless peasants by RENAMO. Some of the victims 
were released after being required to transport stolen 
materials for long distances or to perform other tasks. 
Others were held indefinitely in rural areas outside of formal 
government control and were sometimes forced to undergo 
military training. The majority of amnestied RENAMO 
guerrillas claim they had been kidnaped, forced to take 
military training, and subsequently to fight for RENAMO. 
RENAMO also continued kidnaping and holding foreigners in 
1988. Seven crew members of a West German freighter were 
kidnaped by RENAMO in August; four of these were subsequently 
released. A Portuguese nun was released by RENAMO in May 
after months of captivity in RENAMO camps. A recently 
released British national, Nicholas de la Casa, had been held 
captive by RENAMO for over a year. He reported that he had 
been well treated but kept under close guard. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Both government and RENAMO forces have been accused of 
torturing prisoners and civilians. In 1988 the Minister of 
Interior and the political commissar of the armed forces 
separately toured the country and openly criticized abuses 
against civilians by soldiers, police, and the militia. In 
1988 the media reported on the trials of police, troops, 
militia, and government officials charged with corruption or 
the abuse of civilians. The President and other senior 
officials have repeatedly and publicly emphasized the need for 
security forces to respect the population. A major step 
forward in imposing greater discipline was taken with the 
approval of new laws on military crimes and a military justice 
system (see Section I.e. below). 

RENAMO has tortured, maimad, and mistreated both military 
prisoners and civilians. Numerous eyewitnesses have confirmed 
that RENAMO mutilates civilians believed to sympathize with 
the Government by cutting off noses, ears, breasts, and lips. 
Thousands of Mozambicans, including children, are reported to 
have undergone such disfigurement. In some instances, 
villagers have been compelled to watch as civilians who had 
attempted to escape or refused to obey RENAMO orders were 
slowly hacked to death with machetes or burned alive in their 
homes. The extent of such atrocities was revealed by the 
"Report on Mozambican Refugees." Numerous refugees and 
Mozambican inhabitants were maimed by mines planted by RENAMO 
in civilian areas. Some have been injured by mines planted by 
FRELIMO forces in border areas. 



230 



MOZAMBIQUE 

In 1988 the practice of imposing sentences of public floggings 
continued, but the frequency and extent of such sentences were 
markedly reduced from past years. In one case the Government 
prosecuted and convicted the head of a neighborhood 
association when a man died from an illegal flogging. 

Political prisoners were reportedly brutally tortured and 
often killed at reeducation camps, run by SNASP, during the 
early postindependence years. The Government has claimed that 
all except one of these reeducation camps have been closed. 
The Ministry of Interior, which is responsible for the police 
force, admits to maintaining six detention centers which are 
formally designated reeducation centers. Reportedly, these 
centers are separate from reeducation camps for political 
prisoners established after independence, and house about 800 
prisoners convicted of common crimes. Many of these camps are 
reportedly open prisons where inmates farm and live with their 
families. A model prison for captured RENAMO guerrillas at 
Inhambane provides training to help inmates reintegrate into 
society. There is almost no information about the treatment 
of RENAMO prisoners or other persons detained under security 
legislation at other detention sites, but the ICRC has visited 
political prisoners. 

Prison conditions in most Mozambique prisons, however, are 
poor, marked by problems with hygiene, food, and medical care 
similar to those which affect many segments of the 
population. A Nigerian businessman, who escaped from prison 
in Maputo and fled the country, alleged that prison officials 
beat and tortured inmates and operated a prostitution ring 
with female prisoners. The allegations were vigorously denied 
by the Government. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Mozambique has three separate legal systems: The regular 
civil/criminal system is composed of the judiciary (courts) 
and a police force under the authority of the Ministry of 
Interior; the military-run state security system, which 
includes the Ministry of National Security (SNASP), has 
jurisdiction over both political and economic (sabotage) 
crimes against the State; the recently established military 
justice system has jurisdiction over most crimes committed by 
military personnel and crimes by civilians which adversely 
affect the military. 

Under the regular civil/criminal court system, persons accused 
of the most serious crimes can be detained up to 84 days 
without investigation. With court approval, such detainees 
can then be held for two additional periods of 84 days while 
the police complete their investigation. While detained, 
persons have the right to counsel and to contact relatives and 
friends. In some cases, detainees may be released from prison 
while the investigation proceeds, but the bail system in 
Mozambique remains ill defined. The law stipulates that if 
the prescribed period for investigation has been completed and 
no charges have been brought, the detainee must be released. 
In practice these procedures are not always followed, and 
legal counsel is frequently not available. In 1988 Members of 
the People's Assembly criticized cases of lengthy detention 
without trial. 

Under the state security system, all investigations and 
arrests are carried out by SNASP. Detainees may be held 
indefinitely, often incommunicado, without formal charges. 



231 



MOZAMBIQUE 

They do not have the right to challenge the legality of their 
detention. SNASP has the power to conduct pretrial inquiries 
without reference to a judge. In 1988 the Government 
authorized the ICRC to visit inmates jailed under security 
legislation at 10 places of detention throughout the country, 
in accordance with standard ICRC criteria. ICRC reported that 
it visited 658 inmates at Machava prison in Maputo province 
and prisons in Sofala, Gaza, and Inhambane provinces. RENAMO 
has not agreed to allow the ICRC to visit detainees. 

At the end of 1988, the number of political detainees and 
prisoners held in SNASP prisons was estimated at around 
1,000. Presumably many of these are captured RENAMO 
prisoners. The Government claimed that all foreigners and 
one-third of the Mozambicans imprisoned under security 
legislation were pardoned in 1988. 

During 1988 there were no reports of anyone being exiled from 
Mozambique. The Government publicly rejects power-sharing 
negotiations with RENAMO, but at the end of 1987 it proclaimed 
a 12-month amnesty for RENAMO personnel. Seminars were held 
throughout the country to explain amnesty law procedures to 
provincial authorities. In December the amnesty was extended, 
and the President stated that the GPRM welcomed efforts by 
persons of good will who were in contact with RENAMO elements 
with the objective of persuading them to reenter Mozambican 
society under the amnesty. RENAMO guerrillas were given the 
option of turning themselves in to the armed forces, the 
Mozambican Red Cross, local authorities at Mozambican 
embassies, or to their families. The Government claimed that 
during 1988 almost 3,000 RENAMO guerrillas surrendered in 
order to benefit from the amnesty. President Chissano 
specifically stated that Mozambique's amnesty law was 
applicable to everyone, including RENAMO chief Alfonso 
Dhlakama. In a highly publicized case, former spokesman for 
RENAMO Paul Oliveiro returned to Maputo and surrendered under 
the amnesty law. Numerous public ceremonies to reintegrate 
former guerrillas officially into society were held throughout 
the country and publicized by the media. There have been few 
reports of mistreatment of amnestied guerrillas. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The modern judicial system is based on Portuguese civil law. 
There is a series of people's courts at the district and 
provincial levels, and a Superior Court of Appeals in Maputo. 
A Supreme Court was constituted at the end of the year with 
the naming of judges. Once the Court begins operations, the 
Revolutionary Military Tribunal and the Superior Court of 
Appeals will cease to exist. Persons accused under the Law of 
Crimes Against the Security of the People and the State (i.e., 
the majority of political prisoners) will then be tried by the 
provincial courts under normal judicial procedures. The 
Supreme Court will automatically hear all appeals of death 
sentences. An attorney general and a deputy attorney general 
were also appointed. These steps completed the establishment 
of Mozambique's judicial system as envisaged in the 1976 
judiciary organization law. Nonpolitical trials conducted by 
the regular civil and criminal court system are generally fair 
and held in public. However, a large backlog of pending cases 
has resulted in long waiting periods before prisoners are 
brought to trial. 



232 



MOZAMBIQUE 

At the local level, there are also customary courts. Trials 
are often conducted in a public place in the village where the 
crime was allegedly committed in order to encourage public 
attendance and participation. The proceedings are conducted 
by a trained representative of the Ministry of Justice, 
assisted by two or four popularly elected "judges." Since the 
legal knowledge of those involved is limited, they are 
instructed to exercise common sense and to apply locally 
accepted principles. Customary courts handle only minor 
offenses . 

More serious crimes are tried in the people's courts at the 
district and provincial levels. These courts are open to the 
public, but in certain cases, such as those involving rape, 
the defendant can request a closed trial. Persons convicted 
of a serious crime have the automatic right of appeal to the 
next higher court. 

Persons charged with crimes against the State are tried by the 
Revolutionary Military Tribunal. These trials are normally 
held in camera without benefit of most due process rights. 
However, in 1988 the Tribunal accorded due process rights 
during the trial of an Australian missionary who admitted that 
he had delivered equipment to RENAMO. The Tribunal dismissed 
on technicalities charges which carried mandatory death 
sentences and imposed minimum sentences on other charges. 
According to reports, the Government brought only a small 
number of SNASP detainees before the Tribunal in 1988. 

The Government proceeded in 1988 with the reorganization of 
the military justice system, and the Military Crimes and 
Military Tribunal Law took effect in July. This Law 
establishes a nationwide system of brigade courts and 
provincial military courts and specifies military-related 
crimes. The text of the Military Tribunal Law was published 
in a series of articles in the daily newspaper, and the media 
gave extensive coverage to installation ceremonies for 
recently appointed military judges. 

The Government is making efforts to improve the administration 
of justice, including taking steps to increase the number of 
trained judicial personnel. In 1988 it established the 
National Institute of Judicial Assistance (INAJ) which, inter 
alia, now provides a system of public defenders. INAJ also 
provides legal training that qualifies persons to join the 
Institute and handle cases before Mozambican courts. The 
number of fully trained lawyers in Mozambique increased from 
about 12 immediately after independence to nearly 80 in 1988. 
The national law school was reopened in 1988 and plans to 
graduate 70 lawyers per year within 5 years. Government 
lawyers are allowed to engage in part-time private practice, 
and a small but growing number of private lawyers have 
full-time practices. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

In areas of active insurgency, homes are entered at will by 
securi-ty or police forces. It is widely assumed that 
surveillance devices are employed to monitor local and 
international telecommunications systems and that mail is 
periodically inspected. The Government and party do not 
generally interfere with family affairs such as marriage or 
the rearing of children. 



233 



MOZAMBIQUE 
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedoms of speech and press are circumscribed. While 
President Chissano has encouraged citizens to voice their 
concerns, the average Mozambican remains reluctant publicly to 
criticize government policies or to report abuses by 
officials. Reportedly, there has been more open debate at 
closed party and government meetings. In 1988 President 
Chissano completed visits to each of the provinces, where he 
held large public meetings and listened to popular grievances. 

The Government exerts control, either directly or indirectly, 
over all authorized media in the country, ranging from the 
radio and television facilities to the daily Noticias 
newspaper. The Mozambican media promote government and party 
positions, but also include controlled reporting on abuses 
within the system and flaws in the implementation of 
government policies. For example, the weekly magazine Tempo 
regularly features substantive articles and editorials on 
sensitive issues, including housing, salaries, price 
increases, implementation of educational policies, and racial 
discrimination within Mozambican society. Some foreign 
publications, including independent Western newsmagazines, are 
sometimes available in bookstores. Church groups circulate 
newsletters and pastoral letters. Western journalists 
(including Americans) are welcome in Mozambique, and the 
Government generally assists in their visits. Regular foreign 
radio broadcasts and South African television are received 
without interference, and there is no restriction on listening 
to them. 

Academic freedom is restricted. Professors and teachers are 
expected to promote FRELIMO positions in the classroom. 
Nonetheless, there is a fairly free exchange of ideas and 
discussion of issues at the college level. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Political opposition to the Government is not permitted. 
Public meetings other than purely social or recreational 
gatherings are controlled by the local authorities. There are 
"mass movements" for groups such as women, youth, and workers 
affiliated with the party. There are several professional 
groups, such as the Mozambican Writers' Association, which are 
also affiliated with the party. Although membership in these 
organizations is voluntary, the party occasionally exerts 
pressure on citizens to join. In 1988 an independent 
association of private businessmen was chartered. Shortly 
after it was organized, the association was invited by the 
Government to represent private employers at the annual 
International Labor Organization (ILO) conference. There is 
also an active Chamber of Commerce. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, 
and separation of church and state, the Government officially 
has been critical of religious activities and beliefs. 
However, in recent years the Government has permitted churches 
actively to pursue their ministries without interference, and 
church membership has increased steadily. In 1988 the 
Government accelerated its policy of dialog with religious 
leaders, especially with the Catholic church, to resolve 



234 



MOZAMBIQUE 

problems created by past policies which had restricted church 
activities and expropriated church properties. The Government 
publicly ordered the return of all expropriated places of 
worship, and negotiations were under way at the end of 1988 
for the return of other church properties, such as religious 
residences and seminaries. The Government fully cooperated in 
organizing the visit of Pope John Paul II to Mozambique in 
September . 

In 1988 the government-controlled media gave coverage to many 
religious ceremonies, including a procession through the 
streets of Maputo, commemorating holy days. In Maputo, 
religious book stores openly sell Bibles and other 
literature. The Government provides some funds for 
development projects administered by the Christian Council of 
Mozambique. The Ministry of Justice's Religious Affairs 
Department serves as the official liaison with churches and 
intervenes on behalf of churches with other government 
agencies. There is an active Bible society which has 
functioned unimpeded since independence. The Muslim community 
has two established national organizations, representing 
Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, and sent groups on pilgrimages to 
Mecca, partially funded by the Government. Although the 
Government still reserves the right to decide whether 
individual clergy can visit outlying areas, there were no 
reports of cases in which travel was denied. 

Party members are not prohibited from membership in a church 
or mosque. While it does not encourage religious practice, 
the party has stated that persons with religious affiliations 
will be considered for party membership on a case by case 
basis . 

Church properties and personnel near RENAMO targets were 
particularly hard hit during 1988. A Methodist mission in 
Inhambane province, which had been rebuilt after a previous 
attack in 1987, was damaged again by RENAMO this year. 
Several Presbyterian congregations in southern Mozambique were 
disbanded after RENAMO attacks on churches and traveling 
preachers. Two Catholic nuns were wounded when a vehicle 
transporting patients was attacked by RENAMO. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Travel and relocation within the country are controlled by 
security and employment requirements. Ambushes by RENAMO make 
road travel hazardous throughout the country. Mozambicans 
planning to travel outside their district must obtain a travel 
permit from local government authorities. In practice, this 
system is not always enforced. Travel regulations were eased 
somewhat in 1988 for international travelers by elimination of 
a requirement that employers send letters requesting exit 
permits . 

Mozambican law does not address the issue of emigration, but 
in practice Mozambicans can emigrate if they wish. A 1982 law 
allowed for the reacquisition of citizenship by Mozambicans 
who left the country and assumed another nationality. In 1987 
the People's Assembly enacted a nationality law restoring 
Mozambican citizenship to women who lost it through marriage 
to foreigners. 

In recent years, over 1 million persons have been dislocated 
within Mozambique, mainly to Maputo and other urban areas. In 



235 



MOZAMBIQUE 

late April, the ICRC began to distribute relief supplies in 
areas of conflict, initially in Sofala province, with the 
authorization of the Government. RENAMO publicly alleged that 
government forces bombed and attacked sites under its 
occupation that had been designated by the ICRC for 
distribution of emergency relief supplies in Manica and 
Zambezia provinces. The Government stressed, however, that 
the ICRC had not been authorized to operate in those areas. 
In July the Government suspended ICRC relief operations, 
reportedly due to government military offensives, and these 
operations had not resumed at the end of the year. 

In addition, over 1 million persons have fled across borders 
to neighboring countries as refugees mainly due to the 
intensification of the conflict. Most of those fleeing the 
country went to bordering states: Malawi (600,000); Zimbabwe 
(75,000); Swaziland (40,000); Tanzania (70,000); Zambia 
(30,000); and South Africa (200,000). In 1988 few of these 
persons returned voluntarily. There were major incidents of 
forced repatriation of Mozambican refugees--at least 8,000 
persons — by Zimbabwean authorities during 1988. The South 
African Government also regularly deported 40 to 50 Mozambican 
refugees and illegal workers per day at Ressano Garcia. 

The Government cooperates with the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in both receiving returning 
Mozambicans and in protecting refugees from other countries 
The Government has publicly and privately made clear its 
opposition to forced repatriation. Since independence, the 
Government has readily provided asylum to refugees from 
neighboring countries. However, because of the difficult 
conditions within Mozambique, there are only about 500 
refugees in the country. Most refugees in Mozambique are from 
South Africa and Chile. Since signing the Nkomati Accord in 
1984, the Government has restricted entry of members and 
supporters of the African National Congress. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens are not free to change their government, and no 
organized political opposition is allowed. The FRELIMO party 
is headed by an 11-member Political Bureau which is elected by 
the 118-member Central Committee. Party congresses are 
convened every 5 years to elect Central Committee members. 
FRELIMO and the Government are controlled by a small cadre of 
senior party officers. At the fourth party congress in 1983, 
party membership was 110,000, or about 2 percent of the 
population. However, there is some scope for political 
participation for those who are not party members. Several 
government ministers, at least 15 deputies in the National 
People's Assembly, and some members of provincial and regional 
people's assemblies are not members of the party. 

The national legislature, the People's Assembly, serves to 
ratify legislation prepared by the Government or party. In 
recent years. Assembly debates have been spirited and have had 
some impact in delaying proposed legislation. The first 
national elections since 1977 for the people's assemblies at 
the local, district, provincial, and national levels were held 
in late 1986 and early 1987. The party drew up single slates 
of candidates for the elections, and party structures reviewed 
these slates with the local population prior to the election. 
Voters had some degree of choice since there were, by law, 20 



236 



MOZAMBIQUE 

percent more candidates than seats available in the various 
assemblies . 

The Constitution is currently being revised in a process that 
requires public debate and study throughout the country. A 
proposed change provides for indirect election of the 
President for a 5-year term by the provincial and national 
people's assemblies. 

Women are increasingly prominent in government positions. In 
1988 two women were appointed to national directorships in the 
Ministry of Justice. In the 1986-87 elections, 39 women (15.6 
percent) were elected to the National People's Assembly. 
About a fourth of the members of provincial and district 
people's assemblies are women. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government's cooperation with international human rights 
organizations improved substantially during 1988. President 
Chissano received ICRC President Sammurega in February. 
Subsequently, the Government authorized ICRC prison visits at 
a number of places of detention in accordance with standard 
ICRC criteria (see also Section l.d.). The Government also 
held meetings with Amnesty International during 1988, notably 
in October when Secretary General Ian Martin visited 
Mozambique. The Government agreed in principle to a United 
Nations investigation of the human rights situation in 
Mozambique. There are no groups within Mozambique that 
monitor human rights. The People's Assembly ratified in 1988 
the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Despite intertribal strains imposed by the conflict and 
economic collapse, Mozambican society remains markedly 
multiracial. However, the majority of the FRELIMO leadership 
are members of the southern-based Shangaan ethnic group, and 
RENAMO has sought to obtain support by exploiting historically 
based intertribal antipathies, especially in the central and 
northern part of the country. As a result of the greater 
educational opportunities which were available to ethnic 
Asians and whites prior to independence, they hold important 
positions in numbers much greater than their proportion of the 
general population. While the Government is still 
multiracial, in recent years there has been a trend towards 
"Mozambicanization" of the Government, with some whites and 
ethnic Asians replaced by qualified blacks. 

In a largely rural society, the reality is that the vast 
majority of women are still bound to traditional roles, such 
as childbearing and tilling the fields. However, women have, 
in theory, equal rights under Mozambique's Constitution, and 
the Government is continuing efforts to improve the legal 
status of women. For example, the nationality laws of 1987 
gave women equal rights in this important area, by allowing 
women who marry foreigners, and their children, to retain 
Mozambican nationality. The Organization of Mozambican Women, 
the party's mass organization for assisting women, is 
particularly active in helping to establish day care centers. 



237 

MOZAMBIQUE 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Workers have the right to join unions, but all trade unions in 
Mozambique must be affiliates of the Organization of 
Mozambican Workers (OTM) , the country's only authorized trade 
union central. The OTM was established in 1983 as a mass 
organization of the sole political party, FRELIMO. Thirteen 
national unions have formally organized and joined the OTM. 
The OTM's membership of about 300,000 constitutes over half of 
the salaried workers in Mozambique. The OTM plans to organize 
another three national unions to complete the country's trade 
union network. The OTM is governed by a six-member 
secretariat which is elected every 5 years at plenary union 
congresses. The current leadership was elected at the first 
OTM congress in 1984. 

The OTM is prohibited by law from striking or taking other job 
actions to advance the interests of its members. 

The OTM participates in the meetings of the ILO, but it is not 
affiliated with any non-African international trade union 
organizations. It is a member of the Organization of African 
Trade Union Unity and the South African Trade Union 
Coordinating Council. In 1988 it sent a delegate to the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Union's world 
congress. The OTM has extensive ties with Soviet bloc trade 
unions, but it also has programs with a number of unions in 
Western Europe. A delegation from the American Federation of 
labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations visited Maputo in 
October. The OTM has a sizable number of assistance programs 
with foreign trade unions for training and development 
projects . 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Workers are only allowed to organize and bargain collectively 
within the OTM structure. Union membership is voluntary, but 
the Government encourages workers to join and actively 
participate in unions. The Government sets wage rates, and 
collective bargaining as such does not take place. However, 
the OTM is consulted by the Government on labor and economic 
policies which affect unions, and the OTM monitors 
occupational safety conditions. One of the OTM's primary 
activities is to represent workers at disciplinary action 
hearings and during labor disputes. Under Mozambican law, the 
OTM must be consulted before a worker is dismissed from his 
position. The OTM sponsors a number of training programs for 
workers and operates a canteen service to provide low-cost 
meals at work sites and factories. 

Until recently labor law in Mozambique placed extensive 
restrictions on employers' control over their employees. 
However, the Government has enacted a comprehensive labor law 
that increases the autonomy of employers. Among other things, 
it allows both public and private firms to fire employees 
without obtaining governmental permission. Companies may now 
also reward their best workers with bonuses and penalize less 
productive employees. During 1988 professional associations 
were given the right to petition the People's Assembly for 
improvements in professional salaries and working conditions. 
Journalists won a substantial wage increase through this means, 
Labor legislation is applied uniformly throughout the country 
in the wage economy. There are no export processing zones. 



238 

MOZAMBIQU E 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by law, and there 
have been no reports of such labor in practice by the 
Government. RENAMO guerrillas regularly kidnap civilians and 
force them to work in a variety of support functions, 
including growing food. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Child labor is controlled, and in the wage economy the minimum 
working age (excluding agriculture) is 16. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Most of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture 
and is not affected by the wage economy and government 
regulations concerning working conditions. In the small 
modern sector, the Government has enacted health and 
environmental laws to protect workers. On occasion, the 
Government has closed down firms for noncompliance with these 
laws, but enforcement is difficult in the current economic 
situation. Legislation containing job-related safeguards for 
pregnant women and new mothers provides for the right to 60 
days' maternity leave. If firms have day-care facilities, 
women reportedly have the right to 2 half-hour breaks daily 
for a year to feed their children. 

Under the economic reform program, the Government increased 
wages substantially after imposing drastic currency 
devaluations. Wages are still woefully inadequate for workers 
to maintain a decent standard of living, given persistent 
inflation and price increases linked to the economic reform 
program. The minimum wage for skilled workers is equivalent 
to $27 per month, $25 per month for other nonagricultural 
workers, and about $20 per month for agricultural workers. 
The minimum wage law is widely violated in the private sector, 
and actual wages are sometimes well below the legal minimum. 
The standard workweek is 44 hours. 



239 



NAMIBIA 



Formerly German South West Africa, Namibia has been ruled 
since 1915 by the Republic of South Africa. The United 
Nations lifted South Africa's League of Nations mandate in 
1966, and an advisory opinion of the International Court of 
Justice in 1971 upheld U.N. authority over Namibia and called 
for South Africa's immediate withdrawal. Nonetheless, the 
South African Government's representative in Windhoek, the 
Administrator General, continued to administer Namibia, 
together with the "transitional government of National Unity 
(TG)," which had been serving since June 1985, and which is 
drawn from internal Namibian parties. The South African 
Government directly controlled the territory's defense and 
foreign affairs. The international community has not 
recognized the TG and has held the South African Government 
responsible for the actions of the Namibian authorities. 

Agreements signed in New York on December 22, 1988, by South 
Africa, Angola, and Cuba, with the mediation of the United 
States, require South Africa to implement United Nations 
Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 435 in the context of 
Cuban troop withdrawal from neighboring Angola. The 1978 
Resolution calls for a ceasefire, the phased withdrawal of 
South African forces, and free elections under U.N. 
supervision. If UNSCR 435 is implemented, the Administrator 
General (AG) will reassume all powers now held by the TG, 
which will be disbanded. The AG will continue to administer 
the territory during the transition process, including the 
election, but under the supervision of the U.N. Secretary 
General's special representative on Namibia. Commencement of 
implementation is scheduled for April 1, 1989. 

Meanwhile, Namibia continued throughout much of 1988 to 
experience low-level guerrilla conflict with insurgents of the 
South West African People's Organization's (SWAPO) military 
wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), fighting 
the South African Defense Force (SADF) and the Southwest 
Africa Territorial Force (SWATF) . Early in the year SADF made 
incursions into Angola to strike SWAPO/PLAN bases there. 
Military activity declined to negligible levels after a 
cease-fire went into effect on September 1 along the border 
between Angola and Namibia. SWAPO draws most of its support 
from the Ovambo in the north, the largest ethnic group in 
Namibia. SWAPO also operated as a legal political 
organization within Namibia, although it does not participate 
in the TG . 

Some 60 percent of the population of 1.3 million live by 
subsistence agriculture. The modern economy consists of 
mining, fishing, cattle ranching, and food processing. Mining 
and agriculture provide 90 percent of exports; the 
manufacturing industry is very small. Real gross domestic 
product grew by 2 . 9 percent in 1987, according to government 
statistics. A lack of diversification in the economy has 
produced very uneven growth. Economic conditions are 
particularly severe in the north. Unemployment is at least 20 
percent, according to one academic estimate, but one survey of 
10 urban areas found an extremely high rate of 33 percent. 

As has been the case over the past 20 years, most reports of 
human rights violations by government authorities or SWAPO 
involved actions taken in the "operational area" in northern 
Namibia (where over half of the territory's population 
lives). The guerrilla war in the north, which began in 1966, 



240 



NAMIBIA 

continued in 1988, and produced a number of casualties and 
fundamentally disrupted the lives of those living in northern 
Namibia. There were also three major bombings; at a bank in 
northern Namibia, which killed 28 civilians; at a butchery 
shop in Walvis Bay, which killed 1; and at a hotel in 
Windhoek, which killed 2. There has been no final 
determination as to who was responsible for the bombings. 
Despite the TG ' s bill of fundamental rights, which includes 
many internationally recognized individual rights, the South 
African courts have ruled that these rights can only be tested 
against legislation passed since the TG came into being in 
1985. As a result, all of Namibia's harsh security laws 
remain in force; and in 1988 arbitrary government detention 
without access to counsel or visits by family members 
continued, as did restrictions on the freedom of assembly. 
South African State President Botha in March halted the 
prosecution of six security force members charged with a 
murder during a SWAPO rally in November 1986. An extremist 
white group appeared on the scene in 1988 and admitted 
responsibility for destroying the plant of the outspoken 
newspaper. The Namibian. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were periodic reports of politically motivated attacks 
and killing by both government security forces and SWAPO. 

Some charges of security force abuses, particularly in the 
"operational area" of northern Namibia were confirmed when 
security force members were convicted on various charges, 
including robbery and rape. However, many of the killings 
that occurred in the operational area were difficult to 
attribute to any one group. There were allegations, denied as 
"absurd" by the security forces, that the security forces 
committed crimes, including murder, against civilians while 
masquerading as SWAPO guerrillas. Five black members of the 
security forces were convicted in 1988 of killing two women. 
There were reports of injuries when security forces shot at 
civilians allegedly for violating the curfew, including one 
incident in August, in which the security forces claimed, but 
the victims denied, that warning shots had been fired. 

SWAPO appeared in 1988 to step up a policy of engaging in 
sabotage bombings of nonmilitary targets. SWAPO took 
responsibility for the 1987 bombing of a Windhoek public 
parking garage (two men were on trial in late 1988 for that 
bombing), but it denied responsibility in three bombings in 
1988, including one which killed 28 civilians at a bank in 
Ovamboland in February. A northern Namibian man confessed to 
the police that he had planted the bombs at the bank and at a 
butchery shop in Walvis Bay in 1988; he is now standing 
trial. A third bomb killed two persons at the Continental 
Hotel in Windhoek in September. Government authorities in 
Namibia blamed SWAPO for all three bombings, but SWAPO denied 
these claims, alleging the bombs had been planted by the 
security forces to discredit SWAPO. 



241 

NAMIBIA 

b. Disappearance 

Security forces are not obliged to notify anyone when a person 
is detained and often hold detainees incommunicado for 
extended periods of time. Legal counsel sometimes has to 
petition the courts to obtain information on suspected 
detainees, and recently the authorities have been somewhat 
more cooperative in responding to requests for information on 
detainees. However, the authorities do not have to notify 
anyone of a detainee's release. 

The security forces claimed that SWAPO kidnaped civilians in 
1988, particularly young people, to gain recruits. The 
security forces claimed SWAPO abducted 40 pupils and 5 
teachers from Ombalantu in Ovamboland in May, bringing the 
total of those allegedly kidnaped by SWAPO in 1988 to 83. 
SWAPO has consistently denied claims of kidnaping, insisting 
that its recruits come voluntarily. 

There were continuing credible reports in 1988 that SWAPO 
kidnaps or kills Namibians, including SWAPO members or 
ex-members, who disagree with the organization's policies. 
SWAPO admits that it is detaining in camps in Angola and 
Zambia a group of Namibians, allegedly because they are spies 
for South Africa, but denies that any of them have been 
executed. SWAPO claims that the organization's security 
prohibits visits by outsiders to these detainees. Because of 
this policy, the fate of approximately 100 disappeared SWAPO 
members that have been of interest to human rights groups for 
several years remains unknown. In May the International 
Society of Human Rights listed the names of an additional 37 
persons who had disappeared or been murdered following their 
alleged arrest by SWAPO. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Allegations of security force abuses continued in 1988. 
Political leaders, clergymen, and others regularly made 
detailed reports that the police and security forces engaged 
in brutal treatment of civilians, primarily in northern 
Namibia, in and out of detention. The Secretary of the 
Legislative Assembly of Ovamboland testified in a South 
African court that he had taken some 690 affidavits over the 
past 6 years alleging acts of rape, murder, theft, and arson 
by the SADF in Namibia. There were several reports in 1988 of 
civilians being beaten by security force members. As in 
previous years, the police counterinsurgency unit, formerly 
known as "Koevoet," was accused of harassment and beatings of 
civilians in northern Namibia. In late December, South Africa 
stated that "Koevoet" was being disbanded in connection with 
the planned implementation of UNSCR 435. 

Six members of SWATF were found guilty of raping a girl in 
Ovamboland in April 1987 and sentenced to between 3 and 6 
years. They were also made to pay compensation. There have 
been other cases in which security forces have been required 
to pay considerable sums in court cases arising from human 
rights abuses. However, the police officer involved in a 
widely publicized police beating in 1987 (the Heita case) was 
not prosecuted. He was later transferred. Human rights 
groups claim that the publicity surrounding these cases has 
not led to a significant decrease in abuses. 



242 



NAMIBIA 

Amnesty International (AI) published a special report in April 
1987, Namibia: Torture and I 11-Treatment of Prisoners, which 
cited evidence of torture. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Government employs three pieces of legislation allowing 
broad powers of detention. The first is Article 6 of the 
Terrorism Act of 1967, the harshest of the three laws under 
which a person can be held in indefinite detention without 
review, without access to counsel, his own physician, family, 
or friends. The detainee does, however, have access to 
government-appointed doctors and magistrates. The other two 
laws providing for detention without trial are known as AG-9 
and AG-26. The former allows for access to counsel only after 
30 days; the latter allows for early access and provides for a 
review committee, but the TG Cabinet is not required to follow 
review committee recommendations. The authorities have 
increasingly used the Terrorism Act since 1986, when the 
Supreme Court ruled that detainees under AG-9 had access to 
legal counsel after 30 days. 

One SWAPO member, Jason Angula, who was initially detained in 
October 1987 under AG-9, was transferred to detention under 
the Terrorism Act. He was released without charge in 
December. Angula did not have access to counsel and was not 
charged. There was at least one other case in 1988 of initial 
detention under AG-9 being switched to the Terrorism Act (see 
below) . The Windhoek Supreme Court in February upheld a 
Judge's September 1987 order releasing six SWAPO and union 
officials from detention under the Terrorism Act, citing 
insufficient reason for their arrest. In an out-of-court 
settlement of a civil suit, police paid about $6,000 to each 
of the former detainees, although the police did not admit 
their guilt. 

Some people detained under the three laws are not fully aware 
of their rights while in detention. Lawyers have on occasion 
been able to get their clients released by threatening legal 
action against the authorities. Past legal action appears to 
have made the authorities more responsive to requests for 
details of detentions. 

It is not certain how many people were detained during 1988, 
or how many remained in detention at the end of the year. The 
police publicize numbers of detentions on occasion but usually 
do not name the detainees, announce their releases, or issue 
figures on the total number of detainees at any given time. 
The police said that they are detaining people under AG-9 and 
Article 6 of the Terrorism Act, not AG-26. The Deputy 
Attorney General confirmed that 9 people had been detained in 
northern Namibia between January 18 and 22, and the South 
African Police reported on January 28 that 43 people had been 
detained in the north. 

The Namibian Communications Center in London claimed that 36 
people were in detention "for political reasons" as of early 
October. The police deny the existence of "political 
prisoners," claiming that all of them eventually will be 
charged. The editor of The Namibian newspaper was detained 
under AG-9 for 5 days in June. Five students were detained 
for 3 weeks in June under AG-9; they were released without 
charge. 



243 



NAMIBIA 

In August 37 students were detained and later charged for 
their participation in a gathering at the University of 
Namibia in connection with separate school boycotts (see 
Section 2 .b. ) • 

There were no further challenges to the constitutionality of 
security legislation in 1988. Although the TG ' s own "Bill of 
Fundamental Rights" stipulates that "no one shall be detained 
for an indefinite period of time without a fair and proper 
trial by a court," the uncertain status of the TG and 
continuing rule by South Africa prevented this right from 
being respected fully. All the security legislation remains 
in effect, although some within the TG would prefer to rely on 
normal criminal statutes rather than the more severe security 
acts . 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The judiciary is independent of the executive branch (the TG) , 
and the Supreme Court is respected for its integrity. Its 
authority is limited, however, by TG and South African 
legislation and subject to appellate review by the South 
African Appeals Court in Bloemf ontein. In April South African 
President Botha gave the executive branch--the Administrator 
General and the TG--additional powers with respect to the 
courts, enabling them automatically to refer decisions of the 
Windhoek Supreme Court on constitutional matters to the 
appellate division in Bloemfontein without obtaining 
permission to appeal from the Namibian Court. The Court in 
Bloemfontein is considered significantly more conservative 
than the Windhoek bench. 

Most trials are held in public, and the defendants have a 
right to counsel. There is little criticism of the courts 
themselves; criticism regarding the administration of justice 
generally revolves around the system of detention without 
trial, and whether security force personnel are brought to 
trial for illegal actions. Those who are brought to trial can 
expect a hearing based on the legal merits of their case, and 
there is a right of appeal. Namibia operates under 
Roman-Dutch law. Defendants are generally considered innocent 
until proven guilty, except when charged under the Terrorism 
Act. That Act places the burden of proving innocence on the 
defendant so long as the prosecution has shown that the crime 
occurred and the accused had some knowledge of it. 

Reform of security legislation remained a dormant issue in 
1988. There was no further action on the Van Dyk Commission 
Report, issued in October 1986, which proposed revisions in 
the security legislation. 

Two of the year's most noted court cases highlighted the South 
African President's power to indemnify security forces against 
criminal prosecution. South African President Botha in March 
halted the trial of six security force members who had been 
charged in the murder of Immanuel Shifidi in Windhoek in 
November 1986. This was the second time in 2 years that the 
President had halted a murder prosecution against soldiers. 
According to the South African Defense Act, the President may 
stop judicial proceeding against security force members if the 
incident occurred in the "operational area, if the forces 
acted in good faith, and if the action was in the national 
interest." The Administrator General, at the request of 



244 



NAMIBIA 

President Botha, issued a certificate finding that these 
conditions had been met. At the end of 1988, the validity of 
the Shifidi certificate was being tested in the Windhoek 
Supreme Court. Late in the year, the Windhoek Supreme Court 
overturned a similar certificate which had halted a murder 
trial against four SADF soldiers accused of murdering Frans 
Uapota in northern Namibia in 1985. In that case, the TG had 
issued the certificate at the request of the South African 
President but had vowed never to do so again because of the 
negative impact on its credibility. The Windhoek Court found 
that the military report on which the certificate was based 
had been "most misleading" because it had not included the 
post mortem results showing evidence of injuries consistent 
with prolonged beatings and strangulation with rope. The 
Court also ruled that the certificate improperly took away 
prosecutorial powers that rested with the Attorney General. 
At the end of the year, an appeal of the ruling was pending in 
the South African Appeals Court, and prosecution of the 
soldiers had not resumed. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Security legislation allows the security forces almost 
unlimited powers of search and seizure. Invasion of homes is 
said to be commonplace in the northern operational zone. Cars 
are searched at security checkpoints. Some charge that they 
are under surveillance periodically and that their houses or 
cars have been searched even outside the operational zone. 
Telephones and mail of those unsympathetic to the TG and the 
security forces are assumed to be monitored. There continue 
to be allegations that security forces have threatened 
civilians to obtain information on suspected SWAPO insurgents. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The South African Government and the TG have at times 
restricted the freedom of speech to criticize the Government, 
especially through restrictions on assembly (see below). The 
Government controls the electronic media, but newspapers 
represent views covering the entire political spectrum. 
Editorials can, and do, support these views, including 
pro-SWAPO sentiments. 

Namibian newspapers are subject to South African press laws, 
including the Internal Security Act of 1950, which restricts 
reporting on some security matters. Nevertheless, Namibian 
newspapers publish stories critical of the security forces and 
the Government. The South West African Police lodged a 
complaint with the S.A. Media Council regarding the weekly 
Namibian's coverage of alleged security force abuses and 
alleged SWAPO incidents. 

The Namibian was the victim of an arson attack in September 
which destroyed much of its equipment. A group calling itself 
the "White Wolves," an alleged extreme rightwing vigilante 
group, claimed credit for the attack. One Namibian reporter 
was briefly detained under AG-9 in March while interviewing a 
rape and assault victim. In addition, the police detained 
Namibian Editor Gwen Lister for 5 days in June for publishing 
what was allegedly a classified internal document which 
outlined proposed security legislation and which included a 
call for a crackdown on the press and political parties. The 



245 



NAMIBIA 

authorities never stated whether the document was actually- 
classified, and Lister was not charged. 

Publications are banned both for political reasons and for 
obscenity. Publications which were banned in South Africa are 
for the most part also banned in Namibia. The South African 
Publications Appeal Board, which has jurisdiction in Namibia, 
banned publication of SWAPO's political program in July. The 
TG ' s Information and Justice Minister expressed disappointment 
at the action. Other SWAPO publications have routinely been 
declared "undesirable" and thus illegal to sell or distribute. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Political rallies on public property do not require approval, 
only prior notice under the notification and Prohibition of 
Meetings Act. Bans on meetings can be imposed under the 
Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956. The Government banned all 
Human Rights Day celebrations in December 1987. 

A dominant freedom of assembly issue during 1988 was connected 
with the presence of military bases near primary and secondary 
schools in northern Namibia, and the request of students, 
church, and community leaders to have them removed. The 
Government claimed the bases had been established before the 
schools, but opponents contended that some of the bases were 
built near schools to counter political activities there. 

The ultimately unsuccessful effort to have the bases removed 
sparked a string of school boycotts beginning in March. The 
boycotts spread to Windhoek in June, prompting absenteeism and 
demonstrations, some of which were broken up by police and 
security forces, with injuries on several occasions. The 
police broke up one in June with tear gas and rubber bullets, 
detaining 43 and causing some injuries. This gathering did 
not have prior government approval, but witnesses claimed, as 
they did in other incidents, that they were given no warning 
before the police employed tear gas and rubber bullets. 

The school boycott also spurred a union-organized, 2-day 
"stayaway" in June. The TG then adopted the Protection of 
Bill of Fundamental Rights Act, which outlawed promotion of 
stayaways or boycotts. The law makes it illegal to "without 
lawful reason, induce or persuade" people to boycott schools 
or government services, or to stay away from work. It also 
makes it illegal to use violence to achieve any of these 
ends. The term "lawful reason" is not defined. Despite its 
name, the law is being challenged in court as being in 
violation of the TG ' s own Bill of Fundamental Rights, which 
provides for freedom of speech and association. The law was 
employed in the breaking up of an August gathering at the 
University of Namibia and the arrest of 37. They were later 
charged and were awaiting trial in December while the court 
reviewed the constitutionality of the Protection of Bill of 
Fundamental Rights Act. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Namibians enjoy freedom of religion. Almost all Namibians are 
Christians, with the Lutheran Church--the largest group of 
which belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango 
Church, now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 



246 



NAMIBIA 

Namibia (ELCIN)--having the most adherents. Roman Catholic, 
Anglican, Methodist, and Dutch reformed churches are also 
active. There is one Jewish Synagogue in Windhoek. 

The majority of church leaders are openly critical of the TG 
and the South African Government and are allied through the 
Council of Churches of Namibia (CCN) . Church leaders in 
northern Namibia condemned the 1988 bank bombing in which 28 
lives were lost, as well as the use of violence generally. 
Church people claim they are the victims of security force 
harassment. One church official was briefly detained and 
allegedly beaten by police in connection with one of the 
demonstrations. As in 1987, several of these church leaders 
were either denied travel documents altogether or issued 
documents good only for one trip (see Section 2.d.). The 
security forces and the Government have said that these church 
officials are SWAPO supporters. Although the reasons for 
denial of passports do not have to be given, it was assumed 
the Government wished to deny them a platform to criticize the 
TG and South Africa or to urge pressure on South Africa to 
relinquish Namibia. At the end of 1988, it was still not 
known who was responsible for the September 1987 bombing which 
destroyed a Roman Catholic church in northern Namibia. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

A dusk-to-dawn curfew remained in the entire operational area 
of northern Namibia. The security forces said in August that 
they would lift the curfew on October 1 if there were no 
incidents in September involving SWAPO insurgents. The offer 
had been made in conjunction with the pullout of South African 
troops from Angola and a cessation of hostilities in the 
area. The SADF did not lift the curfew in October, claiming 
continued SWAPO guerrilla activity in northern Namibia. 
Meanwhile, a court challenge by three Namibian churchmen to 
have the curfew declared illegal was still pending before the 
Bloemfontein Appeals Court, which reserved judgment on the 
appeal in September. 

South Africa, through the Administrator General in Windhoek, 
controls foreign travel by Namibians. There continued to be 
cases where political opponents of the TG were either denied 
passports or travel documents. In one such case, several 
Namibians were denied passports or travel documents to attend 
a March conference of West European Parliamentarians in which 
SWAPO and African National Congress officials participated. 
An African Methodist minister. Reverend Kauraera, who 
previously had been denied travel documents, was eventually 
granted permission to attend a conference in the United 
States. The authorities granted passports or travel documents 
to most of the people who attended a conference with SWAPO in 
Lusaka in October, but two people. Dr. Zephania Kameeta and 
union official Jerry Ekandjo, were denied documents. Those 
denied passports or travel documents cannot appeal through the 
courts . 

There were no known deportations under the Residence of 
Certain Persons in South West Africa Regulation Act, which 
allows for the deportation of non-Namibians who threaten the 
public order. A German-born Windhoek businessman, Ulrich 
Eins, who has lived most of his life in Namibia, challenged 
the Act in court as unconstitutional. Eins won his case in 
Windhoek, but the decision was effectively overturned by the 
Bloemfontein Appeals Court. 



247 



NAMIBIA 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Namibians did not in 1988 have the right to change their 
government. South Africa maintained control over the 
territory, and the Administrator General represented the South 
African Government in Windhoek. While the TG in theory 
controlled most government portfolios, except for defense and 
foreign affairs, the South African Government still maintained 
ultimate authority over the TG, which it created. 

The TG and the National Assembly were appointed, not elected, 
bodies. Namibia was administered by a three-tiered structure, 
created in 1980 under a decree known as "AG-8," which provided 
for a central legislative body (the National Assembly), 11 
ethnic-based second-tier authorities, and local or municipal 
authorities. Only some of the second-tier legislatures were 
elected. Several parties in the TG are particularly adamant 
about preserving "group rights," and they continued to press 
for ethnic elections. However, no elections were held. 

Although the UNSCR 435 calls for elections before the drafting 
of a constitution, the South African President in 1987 created 
a Constitutional Council containing members of the TG to 
devise a constitution. The TG never reached a consensus on a 
draft constitution, and offered two opposing drafts to the 
South African Government. The constitutional issue was 
overtaken in late 1988 by progress in the international 
negotiations. The South African Government and the TG then 
focused on a set of constitutional principles drafted by five 
Western powers in 1982 and accepted at that time by all 
parties to the Namibian dispute. The TG wants to have a 
constitutional conference with SWAPO before the U.N. 
elections; such a conference is not part of the U.N. plan. 

Women play a minor role in Namibian politics. There are 
female local government officials and members of the National 
Assembly, but there are no female cabinet members. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Administrator General and the TG extend minimum 
cooperation to various groups investigating the human rights 
situation in Namibia. Namibian authorities denied a visa to 
Reverend John Evenson, Director of the Namibian Communications 
Centre in London. Although the Communications Centre 
publishes material on alleged human rights abuses. Reverend 
Evenson was traveling to Namibia to attend a conference 
organized by the Namibian Peace Plan Group to express support 
for UNSCR 435. Evenson reportedly was accused by Namibian 
authorities of "poisoning the minds of people overseas." 
Others investigating the human rights situation were allowed 
into the country, however. As far as is known, the Government 
did not respond to AI ' s 1987 special report on torture and 
ill-treatment of prisoners. 

A Human Rights Center was established at Ongwediva in 
Ovamboland in July. The Center offers legal advice and access 
to lawyers through its headquarters in Windhoek. Two employees 
of the Ongwediva Center were detained for 2 days in August 
while investigating the case of seven people detained without 
trial and three alleged killings by security forces. Neither 
the two human rights workers nor the seven others were charged. 



248 



NAMIBIA 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

All Namibians fflust hold identification documents under the 
Identification of Persons Act of 1979. Race and ethnic groups 
are included in code on the document. Under decree AG-8, 
Namibia maintains nine functioning ethnic or second-tier 
authorities. The population is divided into the following 
racial and ethnic groups present in the territory: Ovambo, 
whites, Damara, Herero, Kavango, Nama, colored (mixed race), 
Kaokovelder, Bushmen, Rehoboth Easter, Caprivian, and Tswana . 
Namibia's population in 1988 was estimated at 1.3 million, of 
whom just over half are Ovambo. There are approximately 
80,000 whites. 

Although there is some sharing of government revenues among 
all the groups, much of the tax revenue collected from members 
of a particular ethnic groups stays with that group. As a 
result, white medical and educational facilities are superior 
to those of the other groups. For example, the white second 
tier authority, representing about 6 percent of the total 
population, had a budget of about $22 million, while the 
Ovambo authority, representing almost 50 percent of the 
population, had a budget of only about $330,000 in 1988. 

The Windhoek Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion in March 
that AG-8 violated the TO ' s own Bill of Fundamental Rights 
largely because of discrimination in funding based on color or 
ethnic classification. The Bill of Rights prohibits such 
discrimination. However, the opinion was merely advisory, and 
the TG parties remained divided and thus undecided on what to 
do about AG-8. 

Social facilities are generally open to all races, although 
private businesses can, and in a relatively few cases, do 
restrict admittance based on race. Unlike South Africa, 
residential areas are not legally segregated. Economic 
factors do, however, separate townships in the territory. 
Some hospitals, such as the State Hospital in Windhoek, admit 
all patients but have separate wings for different races. 

Although the majority of the TG is in favor of opening the 
schools to all races, the TG has not desegregated schools. 
Parents must register their children in school according to 
race and ethnic group. The Nama opposed the opening of a 
private nonracial school in southern Namibia, apparently 
because of political disagreement with the school's sponsor. 
The white South West African National Party and the "colored" 
Rehoboth Basters, two TG parties, continued their opposition 
to open schools and a loosening of the various ethnic groups' 
control over what is generally known as "own affairs." The 
South African Government has consistently expressed support 
for group rights and "own affairs," both in Namibia and the 
Republic . 

Women still experience unequal treatment in both the 
traditional and modern sectors, particularly with regard to 
financial and legal matters. Under traditional practice, a 
woman is not independent; she is usually the ward of her 
father or, when married, her husband. There is still some de 
facto discrimination in employment in the modern sector. Some 
community groups--and government bodies--are targeting women 
in their development programs. Among these are the Council of 
Churches' Namibian Women's Voice, the Women of Namibia, and 
the Namibian Womens Organization in Ovamboland. 



249 

NAMIBIA 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The legal right to associate in labor unions, long enjoyed by 
white and colored workers in Namibia, was extended to black 
workers in July 1978. During the past 2 years, black union 
membership has grown markedly, similar to recent black union 
development in South Africa. Unions have been created in new 
industries, including transport and public workers. Union 
officials in 1988 claimed a membership of at least 50,000 
members in all the unions out of a work force of at least 
220,000. The majority of workers in the largest single 
private sector of the economy, mining, are unionized. 

Namibian workers have and exercise the right to strike. 

As in South Africa, the labor and political situations are not 
separated, and most of the unions are sympathetic toward 
SWAPO; many union leaders are also SWAPO officials. These 
unions organized a stayaway in June to demand the removal of 
military bases from the vicinity of schools in northern 
Namibia and the release of detainees without trial. The 
stayaway closed down the country's largest employer, a diamond 
mine; and participation ranged from zero to 70 percent in 
Windhoek and reportedly from 75 to 100 percent in a few other 
towns. However, the unions' demands were not met. Most 
companies adopted a "no work, no pay" stance towards their 
workers, but several companies, particularly smaller ones, 
fired workers for staying away. At the end of 1988, the 
unions were seeking their reinstatement. The police detained 
one trade unionist for a few weeks under security legislation 
as a result of the stayaway, but he was not charged. 

Unions are allowed to publicize their views. Namibia 
recognizes the May Day holiday, and a large rally was held 
May 1. However, the 1988 Protection of the Bill of 
Fundamental Rights Act seeks to restrict the advocacy and 
organization of work stayaways and boycotts. The law is being 
tested in the Windhoek Supreme Court to see if it actually 
violates the freedoms protected by the 1985 Bill of 
Fundamental Rights. 

Namibian unions participate in the meetings of the 
International Labor Organization, to which Namibia has 
belonged since 1978, and are free to affiliate with 
international trade union bodies. There is also a banned 
union group, the National Union of Namibian Workers, which 
operates in exile out of Angola and is affiliated to the 
Organization of African Trade Union Unity and to the 
Communist-controlled World Federation of Trade Unions. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The right of collective bargaining without the intervention of 
a government agency was recognized by the Namibian Supreme 
Court in February 1985. A government policy statement the 
following year endorsed the principle of "tripartism" and 
pledged to promote industrial self-government by employers and 
employees. Since then, there have been continuing efforts to 
develop a workable system. The commission created to revamp 
Namibia's outdated labor laws continued its deliberations in 
1988 and was expected to issue some of its proposals early in 
1989. The commission — headed by the man who oversaw the 
drafting of South Africa's important labor legislation of 



250 



NAMIBIA 

1979, Nic Wiehahn--is expected to devise a system of 
industrial courts as in South Africa, but the Namibian 
proposals will not be exactly the same as those existing in 
South Africa. 

Namibia presently has a system of conciliation boards. Under 
the system, employees or employers must apply to the TG 
Cabinet to have a board appointed under the Wage and 
Industrial Council Ordinance. The board's decisions are 
binding on both sides of a dispute. 

A major labor issue has been the recognition of unions by 
individual companies and the unions' subsequent registration 
with the TG . Existing labor law prohibits general unions, 
i.e., one union representing workers in more than one 
industry. Although unregistered unions can bargain with their 
employers if they are recognized by management, they do not 
have access to conciliation boards. Disputes have arisen, 
usually along political lines, as to which of two competing 
unions represented the majority of workers at a particular 
company. Important recognition and work condition agreements 
were reached with large employers in the mining and food 
processing industries in 1988. 

Labor legislation applies uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Forced labor is prohibited in law, and there are no reports of 
its practice in Namibia. 

d. Mimimum Age for Employment of Children 

As in South Africa, the minimum working age in most industries 
in Namibia is 15. However, children below the age of 15 often 
work on family farms. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

There is no statutory minimum wage in Namibia. Several of the 
unions adopted "a living wage" as the theme of most of their 
activity during 1988. Mandated occupational health standards 
are similar to those in South Africa. Improved safety 
conditions were part of union demands in 1988, particularly in 
the mining industry, and some individual agreements have been 
reached. Namibia also has legislation mandating leave 
(including maternity leave) and overtime standards. 



251 



NIGER 



General Ali Saibou became President of Niger after the death 
of Seyni Kountche in November 1987. Ruling by decree, he is 
the head of an authoritarian military regime which has been in 
power since 1974. The nation's highest policymaking body is 
the Supreme Military Council, whose membership and meetings 
are secret. In April the President announced that the 
"National Movement of the Development Society" will eventually 
be formed as the country's sole political party. 

The Nigerien Armed Forces, numbering about 2,600 members plus 
800 gendarmes (paramilitary police), help ensure internal 
security. Other security organizations are: the Direction de 
la Securite de L'Etat (Directorate of State Security), which 
reports directly to the President; the Surete National (or 
National Police) which is responsible for maintaining public 
order and countering antigovernment activity; and a unit for 
presidential protection. 

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, occupies a large 
area in the arid Sahel region of West Africa. The economy is 
based on subsistence farming, livestock raising, and some of 
the world's largest uranium deposits. However, cycles of 
drought, desertification, a 3.1 percent population growth 
rate, and declining world demand for uranium since the early 
1980 's have had a serious negative impact on the Nigerien 
economy. 

Human rights are circumscribed. The freedoms of assembly, 
speech, press, and political activity continued to be tightly 
restricted in 1988. However, there have been some positive 
steps since Saibou assumed the Presidency in 1987. He has 
freed over 100 political detainees, made some improvements in 
prison administration, and formed a committee to draft a 
constitution. The Government also finally brought to trial in 
1988 a number of persons held since 1983 for an attempted coup 
d'etat (although the Government's handling of the cases 
pointed to the considerable extent of executive influence over 
the judiciary) . In 1988 President Saibou also made clear the 
limits to change. He stressed that the military will continue 
to play a prominent role in the nation's political life and 
announced that, when it returns to constitutional law, Niger 
will not become a multiparty state. 

RESPECT FOR HUI-IAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings. 

b. Disappearance 

No politically motivated disappearances were reported. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There are no reliable reports that systematic torture of 
detainees and prisoners takes place in Niger. Nevertheless, 
cruel treatment, usually in the form of beatings, is often 
meted out by officials charged with the custody of prisoners. 



252 



NIGER 

Non-Nigerien Africans resident in Niger are frequently 
harassed by the police and occasionally suffer physical abuse 
while in detention. There were no instances in 1988 of 
officials being disciplined for such actions. 

In the past, political prisoners or detainees were rarely 
allowed family visits. Under President Saibou, political 
prisoners have gained more visitation rights. Prisoners with 
severe medical problems have normally received medical care. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

With the Constitution suspended since 1974, there are no 
specific statutory protections against arbitrary arrest or 
imprisonment. Warrants are not required for an arrest, and 
there is no right to judicial review of the legality of 
arrests or detentions. For criminal offenses, the law holds 
that detainees must be charged within 48 hours, but delays 
sometimes occur as the result of lack of trained lawyers and 
judges. In cases concerning political or security-related 
matters, detainees have been held for extended periods without 
charge, as in the case of the detainees held in connection 
with the October 1983 coup attempt against President Kountche 
(see Section I.e.). 

The number of political detainees at the end of 1988 was not 
known but was believed to be small. President Saibou released 
in 1987 over 100 political detainees and prisoners, some of 
whom had been held without charge or trial since 1974. Almost 
60 of that number were released from house arrest, including 
the former President, Hamani Diori, who had been detained in 
prison for 6 years and then placed under house arrest for 
almost 7 years. 

There are no known instances of dissidents or political 
opponents being exiled, although some dissidents have 
voluntarily gone into exile. In an effort at national 
reconciliation. President Saibou announced a general amnesty 
shortly after taking office, inviting those in exile to 
return. Among those who accepted is the current Minister of 
Public Enterprises, Mohammed Abdoulaye, who was in exile in 
Libya . 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Niger's legal system is an amalgam of French, Islamic, and 
customary law. Civil and criminal cases not involving 
security-related acts are tried publicly. Legal counsel is 
provided by the State for indigent defendants accused of 
felonies or other major offenses if they are under 18 years of 
age, handicapped, or faced with the possibility of a sentence 
of more than 10 years. Defendants may appeal verdicts first 
to the Court of Appeals and, if desired, to the nation's 
highest tribunal, the State Court, composed of civilian 
magistrates, which serves as a final court of appeals. The 
President has the right of pardon in criminal cases and has 
invoked this right on several occasions in recent years. At 
the village level, matters such as property disputes are 
frequently resolved by traditional courts. 

In June 1985, the Government of President Kountche formed a 
special court to investigate civil service corruption. This 
court met regularly in 1988. Stiff penalties were established 



253 



NIGER 

for these crimes, including the death penalty for conviction 
of embezzlememt of over $500,000. Thus far, life imprisonment 
has been the most severe penalty assessed. 

Security-related cases are tried in the State Security Court 
which operates outside the normal legal framework. This body 
was established by presidential decree in 1974. It convenes 
in secret, and little is known about its proceedings. Most of 
its members are believed to be military officers. 

The number of political prisoners in Niger is small. While 
releasing most of the political detainees and prisoners in 
November 1987 on assuming power, the Government brought to 
trial in 1988 in the State Security Court 28 persons (4 in 
absentia) for their involvement in the 1983 coup attempt 
against President Kountche. The Court sentenced the 4 in 
absentia to death and 3 others to prison terms, while 
acquitting 21. In a surprising move, the Government did not 
accept the verdict and brought the case to trial again. The 
retrial took place in September--the proceedings were in 
secret as in the first trial--and resulted in stiffer 
sentences: the 4 in absentia again received death sentences; 
16 received various prison terms: and 8 persons were 
acquitted. The Government insisted that the Court had acted 
independently, but it appeared that senior officials in the 
Government did not agree with the "lenient" sentences given in 
the first trial. 

Seven Tuaregs are serving 30-year sentences for their attack 
in 1985 on the police station in Tchin-Tabaraden. 

f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The police have the right to enter homes between 5 a.m. and 
9 p.m. and will enter at other times if they deem it 
necessary. Court warrants are not required in such 
instances. Violations of privacy such as interference with 
correspondence, telephone tapping, and use of informer 
networks are known to take place. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

These freedoms are restricted, although the National Charter 
adopted in 1987 provides in principle for freedom of thought, 
expression, assembly, and association. Institutions such as 
an elected legislature do not exist. 

Niger's major print and electronic media are government owned 
and controlled. The Government uses the media to disseminate 
government policies and to rally popular support for official 
programs and the President and his advisers. While some 
criticism of government policy or bureaucratic inefficiency is 
allowed, especially in the weekly publication Sunday Sahel, 
such criticism is expressed either at the behest of, or at 
least with the knowledge and permission of, the Government. 
Debates on aspects of the economy or cultural policy take 
place in the media, but the boundaries of permissible 
discussion are understood in advance by all participants. 

Niger's first independent journal. The Economic Operator, 
began regular circulation in late 1987. While not 



254 



NIGER 

controversial, it provides a vehicle for publishing material 
that does not represent solely governmental opinion. 

There have been no reports of censored or banned magazines or 
other publications, but the Government is under no legal 
constraints should it discover material that it deems 
offensive. Foreign films are subject to censorship by the 
Ministry of Interior on grounds of public morality and 
political content. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Most forms of voluntary association, such as trade unions, 
churches, and other religious groups, function with the 
understanding that they must act in accordance with government 
policy. Government permission is required for public 
gatherings and is granted only to recognized groups. 

1988 witnessed a major strike by university students that 
lasted almost a month. The students struck over several 
issues including: recognition of their association; universal 
full scholarships; the return to classes of their colleagues 
who had been sent to do their civilian service before 
graduation as a disciplinary measure after earlier student 
strikes; acceptance of all high school students into the 
university; better accommodations; and student representation 
on university boards and commissions. The Government resolved 
the strike peacefully through negotiation. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it pertains to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Niger is a secular state. While the population is over 90 
percent Muslim, the Government permits the practice of other 
religious beliefs. Foreign missionaires can live, work, and 
travel in Niger. Religious groups are allowed to maintain 
links with fellow believers in other countries. 

The Government, cautious of the Islamic fundamentalist 
violence that erupts periodically in nearby northern Nigeria, 
monitors Muslim religious activity through the Islamic 
Association. This Association is funded by the Government and 
assists in an informal screening process of local religious 
leaders. Islamic services that go beyond strictly religious 
subjects are not permitted. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Travel within Niger is closely monitored, although there has 
been some relaxation during the last year. Police checks, 
often entailing thorough searches, take place upon entering or 
leaving major towns and cities. These checks reflect a 
governmental preoccupation with security and smuggling, a 
concern over possible movements into the country of 
foreign-based dissidents or criminal elements, and a policy to 
discourage migration to urban areas. Nigeriens wishing to 
travel abroad must obtain exit visas, which are usually 
granted. Married women must have the permission of their 
husbands to travel abroad. 

The repatriation of Nigerien nationals is unrestricted. Niger 
is a party to the U.N. Convention and Protocol Relating to the 



255 



NIGER 

Status of Refugees and has cooperated with the U.N. High 
Commissioner for Refugees in handling the few registered 
refugees currently in Niger. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens do not have the ability to change their government 
through democratic procedures. Political power is 
concentrated in the hands of the military, and President 
Saibou has placed more government ministries in the hands of 
the military. Ten of his 29 cabinet positions are held by 
military officers. All of Niger's seven departments have 
military governors, who have sweeping powers within their 
departments . 

The President announced in 1988 that Niger will soon form its 
sole political party. The National Movement of the Development 
Society. The new party, when finally organized, will likely 
be an outgrowth of the National Development Council (NDC) 
system which has been in place since 1979. The NDC consists 
of a hierarchical network of smaller councils at the village, 
regional, departmental, and national levels. These councils 
consist of elected and appointed members, although only at the 
village level are members elected directly by the people. The 
national-level council consists of Nigeriens from all walks of 
life, who also serve on special committees to consider various 
aspects of economic development, cultural policy, and social 
issues . 

At the end of 1988, the committee to draft a new constitution 
had begun its deliberations. Women occupy many midlevel and 
lower level positions in the Nigerien Government. In 1987 
President Saibou appointed the first woman to a cabinet-level 
position and placed her in charge of women's affairs. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has recently been very cooperative in answering 
inquiries on the status of political prisoners of interest to 
Amnesty International. There are no domestic groups which 
monitor the human rights situation in Niger. Niger is not 
active in regional and international human rights 
organizations . 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

Four major ethnic groups, each with its own language, make up 
the bulk of the population. The two primarily nomadic groups, 
Tuaregs and Fulani (peul), have less access to government 
services, partly because their transient lifestyles make it 
difficult for the Government to supply them with services. 

The essentially traditional nature of Nigerien society helps 
ensure that family and ethnic group ties remain strong and 
supportive, but traditional practices and attitudes on 
ethnicity, women, and education have some negative effects. 
Males have considerable advantages in terms of education, 
employment, and property rights. In cases of divorce, custody 
of all children under 8 years of age is given to the husband. 



256 



NIGER 

Conscious of the adverse situation of women, the Government 
has begun work on a new family code, tried to provide better 
employment opportunities to women, given them a significant 
role in the National Development Council, and supported a 
national women's association. Women are paid comparable wages 
to men and are active in the business community, although 
commerce is dominated by men. The first professional 
associations of women traders, educators, and bankers were 
formed in 1988. About one-third of Nigerien doctors are 
women, and many of the nation's magistrates are women. The 
Government continues to encourage family planning and in 1988 
legalized the use of contraceptives. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Approximately 90 percent of Niger's work force is employed in 
the rural sector. In the small modern economy, workers have 
the right to establish and join trade unions, but all unions 
by law must be organized under an umbrella group, the National 
Union of Nigerien Workers (USTN) . The USTN is partially 
funded by the Government and is usually responsive to 
government policies. The head of the USTN is elected by its 
members. The USTN represents about 30 percent of the 
approximately 60,000 salaried workers in Niger. It publishes 
a quarterly magazine, The Worker, which discusses USTN 
activities. The USTN maintains relations with recognized 
international bodies, e.g., the International Labor 
Organization and the Accra-based Organization of African Trade 
Union Unity. 

Strikes in Niger are legal if conciliation and mediation 
procedures have been exhausted. Uranium mine workers struck 
in 1987 over housing and other issues. Fellow workers from 
the nearby coal mine joined the strike, which ended with a 
negotiated settlement. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Collective bargaining is legally authorized, but the 
Government is deeply involved in the process. There is a 
general collective bargaining agreement which has been in 
force since 1972 between the USTN, employers, and the 
Government. The agreement covers wages and benefits and is 
extensively applied to all sectors of the urban wage economy. 
Individual unions are permitted to bargain for more favorable 
agreements at their work sites. The Government promotes 
voluntary worker-employer negotiations but does not sit at the 
bargaining table in private sector negotiations. If these 
negotiations fail, the Government becomes the arbitrator. The 
collective bargaining agreement protects workers against 
antiunion discrimination. Labor legislation is applied 
uniformly throughout the country, and there are no export 
processing zones in Niger. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Niger's labor code prohibits forced or compulsory labor, and 
it is generally not practiced. The last reported instance of 
forced labor was during the 1985 drought emergency when 
displaced herders, primarily ethnic Tuaregs and Fulanis, were 
in some instances forcibly required to work in food-growing 
projects . 



257 



d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Children between the ages of 12 and 18 may be employed, but 
there are strict provisions concerning the hours of employment 
and types of employment for children in this age group. All 
labor provisions, including those concerning child labor, are 
applied in practice only in urban areas. In the subsistence 
agricultural sector, which employs most Nigeriens, children 
work on family plots under conditions which are not in 
compliance with the provisions of the labor code. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The minimum wage for salaried workers is approximately $66 
per month. According to union officials, this wage is not 
sufficient to provide a decent living for workers and their 
families. USTN is negotiating with the Government, the 
largest employer of salaried workers, to increase the minimum 
wage rate. Because of the country's depressed economy, the 
Government has not increased salaries since 1980, despite the 
rising cost of living. 

The legal workweek is 40 hours. However, according to the 
labor code, certain occupations requiring irregular hours are 
authorized longer workweeks, with a maximum of 72 hours. The 
labor code also provides occupational safety and health 
regulations which are to be enforced by the labor inspector's 
office. Because of staff shortages, this office focuses 
mainly on the mining, building, and industrial sectors for 
safety violations. According to a ministry official, 
compliance is often difficult to enforce because of the 
attitude of the workers who are relatively uneducated and are 
therefore not fully cognizant of the safety risks posed in 
their jobs. They often complain and refuse to wear protective 
clothing because of Niger's hot climate. For the most part, 
employers have been responsive in providing safety equipment. 



258 



NIGERIA 



Nigeria is ruled by a military regime under President Ibrahim 
Babangida, who came to power in an August 1985 coup. He led 
the overthrow of a previous military regime, which had seized 
power from a civilian government in December 1983. A 
30-member Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) is the country's 
main decisionmaking organ, while a mixed military/civilian 
cabinet presides over the Federal Government's executive 
functions. Military governors head each of the 21 states. 
The 1979 Constitution remains partially in effect, but 
significant provisions, namely those guaranteeing free 
elections, political parties, due process, and habeas corpus, 
are suspended. Federal and state legislation, promulgated by 
decree, is exempt from challenge in the courts. The Federal 
Military Government presented plans in 1987 to return the 
country to democratic, civilian rule characterized by a 
two-party system by 1990--later postponed to 1992. Following 
nationwide elections for local governing councils in 1987 and 
1988, a constitutional assembly began deliberations on a draft 
constitution in June 1988. 

The Government enforces its authority through the federal 
security apparatus--the military, the State Security Service 
(SSS), and the national police--and through the courts. No 
separate law enforcement agencies exist at the state and local 
levels. The Government generally exercises effective control 
over the security apparatus, but deficiencies in organization, 
management, and implementation of control have led to human 
rights violations. 

Nigeria, with an estimated population of 110 million, is 
Africa's most populous country. It has a mixed economy in 
which the Government plays a major but declining role. In 
1986 President Babangida announced a structural adjustment 
program calling for increased reliance on market forces and 
the private sector. Though the program formally was to end in 
June 1988, its essential elements remain in place, including a 
sweeping privatization effort affecting 92 state-owned 
companies and ambitious diversification projects, e.g., the 
liguefied natural gas plan. 

Under the AFRC, human rights in Nigeria continued to be 
circumscribed in 1988. The Government enforced limits on 
press freedom; it proscribed organizations and detained 
persons it considered threatening, including journalists and 
trade unionists; and constrained political expression and 
association, at least until 1989, when some partisan political 
activity will be allowed to resume. Nevertheless, the 
Government repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to human 
rights, which it defines in essentially Western terms, and 
initiated steps toward the reestablishment of a democratic 
system, e.g., the constitutional assembly. There is tension 
between the Government's commitment to fundamental liberties 
and its concern to maintain security and order in a country 
that suffered a devastating civil war in the mid-1960's and 
still experiences strong ethnic, regional, and religious 
divisions. However, in the lively press and public operation 
of local human rights organizations and among lawyers, 
academics, and political leaders, including President 
Babangida, human rights is an ongoing subject of debate. A 
major human rights concern is the slow pace of the court 
system: more than half the prison population has never been 
convicted of any crime, although many prisoners have been 
awaiting trial for years. 



259 



NIGERIA 



RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 



Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There was no evidence of politically motivated killing at 
government or private instigation in 1988. The October 1986 
letter-bomb killing of the editor-in-chief of an influential 
newsmagazine. Dele Giwa, remains unsolved despite a continuing 
government investigation. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearance. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

A portion of the 1979 Constitution still in effect outlaws 
torture and mistreatment of prisoners. Nigerian law provides 
that such excesses be dealt with in criminal or civil 
proceedings. There were no reports or allegations of torture 
in 1988. However, public allegations and evidence of police 
brutality frequently surfaced, primarily in connection with 
the treatment of suspected armed robbers. 

In 1988 there was considerable attention given to prison 
conditions, which remain poor because of the lack of basic 
necessities. Food and medical facilities are particularly 
inadequate. As a result, malnutrition and disease are 
prevalent among those unable to receive support from private 
outside sources. The Government has announced plans for a 
program to build several new prisons. In May 1987, inmates at 
Benin prison rioted over food supplies, resulting in the 
deaths of 24 prisoners. 

In addition to the poor conditions in the general prison 
system, recent confirmed reports indicate that the Government 
ran for 10 years an unofficial island prison, Ita-Oko, which 
the press reported was set in "some of the most inhospitable 
conditions known to man." The prison was closed on September 
29, the day its existence was reported in the Lagos press. 
Accessible only by boat or helicopter, it was reported to be 
escape-proof for its approximately 20 prisoners. The Obasanjo 
Government founded the prison in 1978 and originally intended 
the island camp to be a "rehabilitation center" for homeless 
and idle Nigerians and illegal aliens who, it was alleged, 
were prone to crime. Under the Buhari regime it was used to 
incarcerate civilian and military detainees. The prison's 
population peaked under Buhari, when 50 prisoners were 
detained there. According to the Nigerian civil liberties 
organization, which discovered the prison, inmates were at the 
mercy of the Nigerian security forces who determined their 
length of stay. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The Babangida Government has retained the authority to detain 
without charge persons suspected of acts prejudicial to state 
security or harmful to the economic well-being of the country, 
as well as those suspected of being a threat to the Government 
under Decree 2 of 1984, the State Security (Detention of 
Persons) Decree. This Decree suspends sections of the 1979 



260 



NIGERIA 

Constitution guaranteeing citizens the right to fair trial, 
due process, and judicial determination of the legality of 
detention (habeas corpus). While it imposes no time limit and 
disallows challenges of the detention in a court of law, the 
Decree provides for administrative review of such cases every 
3 months. Several persons, including former politicians 
returning from self-exile, were detained under this Decree 
during 1987. In 1988 journalists and labor leaders were 
detained under this Decree for questioning, usually for 
periods of several days. In addition, the Federal Military 
Government announced in August 1988 that the authority to 
arrest and detain without trial had been extended to the 
Minister of Internal Affairs, who will now share this power 
with the Chief of General Staff and the Inspector-General of 
Police. 

Some Nigerians were detained in 1988 without being held under 
the provisions of Decree '2 of 1984. Cumbersome administrative 
procedures and bureaucratic inefficiency can result in persons 
suspected of criminal offenses being held for extended periods 
without charge or trial. This is so even though provisions of 
the 1979 Constitution still in force stipulate that persons 
charged with crimes should receive a fair public trial in 
civilian courts within 3 months from the date of arrest. The 
Minister of Internal Affairs stated in September that, of a 
prison population of 58,000, 27,860 prisoners are awaiting 
trial. Human rights activists and press reports state that 
unless someone outside has kept track of the prisoner and his 
case, legal assistance may be delayed for years while the 
prisoner remains incarcerated. High Court chief judges 
continued in 1988 to exercise their right to release detainees 
who have already spent more time in prison than they would 
have if they had been convicted for their alleged crimes. 

Following religious riots in northern Nigeria in March 1987, 
about 700 persons were detained for investigation. The Civil 
Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Decree, Decree 2 of 1987, 
promulgated after the riots, provided for investigation and 
the arrest and trial by a special tribunal of those suspected 
of committing specified offenses. Although this Decree made 
northern Nigeria's criminal procedure code the applicable law 
for the trials, administrative confusion resulted in long 
detentions into 1988 without charge or bail for many. 
However, by year's end, all of those involved had appeared 
before the tribunal, and either had been convicted or 
released. The cases of those who were found guilty were being 
reviewed by the Kaduna state military governor. 

In 1988 the Government continued a process, begun in 1986, of 
reviewing the cases of persons detained or convicted under 
various decrees during the previous military administration 
(1984-1985), many of whom have already been released. At the 
end of 1988, the number of political detainees and prisoners 
was unknown but believed to be few. Most of those arrested as 
a result of the 1985 coup that brought Babangida into power 
have been released. Two exceptions had been former Head of 
State Muhamadu Buhari and his second-in-command, Tunde 
Idiagbon; however, both were released in December but remained 
subject to restrictions on their travel abroad. Shehu Shagari 
and Alexander Ekwueme, the former civilian President and Vice 
President overthrown in 1983, remained under similar 
restrictions in 1988. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 



261 

NIGERIA 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The 1984 decree modifying the 1979 Constitution left the 
judiciary relatively unscathed, but it shifted judicial 
responsibility for certain specified offenses to special 
military tribunals that were established outside the regular 
judicial system. The regular judiciary is composed of both 
federal and state courts and includes procedures for appeals 
from courts of first instance to appeal courts at state 
levels, then to the Federal Court of Appeals, and finally to 
the Federal Supreme Court. Courts of first instance under the 
1979 Constitution include magistrate or district courts, 
customary or area courts, religious or Shari'a courts, and for 
some specified cases, the state High Courts. In some 
instances, the nature of the case determines which court 
enjoys jurisdiction. In others, when jurisdiction is 
overlapping, as in the case of customary and Shari'a courts, 
the plaintiff can designate the court. Shari'a, or Islamic 
Courts, are limited by the Constitution to the 11 northern 
states of Nigeria. 

Trials in the regular court system are public and adhere to 
certain constitutionally guaranteed individual rights. These 
include a presumption of innocence, the right to be present at 
a public trial, to confront witnesses and present evidence, 
and to be represented by legal counsel if desired. In capital 
cases, the Government provides counsel for indigent 
defendants. In other cases, indigents must rely for counsel 
on the Nigerian Legal Aid Council, which has limited 
resources. There is a functioning bail system. Bail, 
however, is denied to those charged with murder and armed 
robbery. 

Through decrees promulgated by the previous military 
government that are still in effect, the AFRC transferred 
jurisdiction over cases involving corruption, currency 
violations, armed robbery, and a variety of miscellaneous 
offenses, such as drug trafficking and illegal oil bunkering, 
from the civilian judicial system to special military 
tribunals. In these cases, those charged have access to legal 
assistance, bail (except in the case of armed robbery), and 
the right to appeal (except in the case of armed robbery and 
conviction under the Civil Disturbances Decree). In contrast 
to the previous regime, however, civilian judges head all 
Special Tribunals even though a representative of the military 
and the police are also included. Convictions for armed 
robbery by the Special Robbery and Firearms Tribunals carry 
the death sentence and no right of appeal, although the 
sentence must be confirmed by state military governors before 
it is carried out. Conviction under the Treason and Other 
Offenses Tribunal (formed in 1986) also carries the death 
sentence and provides for appeal only to the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff. The Special Appeal Tribunal began its first hearing in 
September 1987. Recommendations of the Appeal Tribunal are 
subject to AFRC confirmation. 

There is criticism of the mandatory death penalty without 
right of appeal, especially for convictions for armed robbery 
where the sums involved are minor and there appear to be 
irregularities in procedure. Armed robbers have been 
sentenced to death for stealing sums as small as about $65. 
In another case, 12 males aged 16 to 18 were sentenced to 
death in a trial that the press and legal observers charged 
was riddled with irregularities. At year's end, the case was 
under review by the state governor. 



262 



NIGERIA 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Nigerian society is generally free of arbitrary interference 
by the State in the private lives of its citizens. Provisions 
of the 1979 Constitution still in force provide for rights of 
privacy in the home, correspondence, and oral electronic 
communications. While there have been isolated instances of 
unauthorized forced entry by security elements, the State does 
not carry out general surveillance of the population. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The modified 1979 Constitution continues to provide for 
freedom of expression and the press. In addition, the 1979 
Constitution reserves for the federal and state governments 
the exclusive right to own and operate radio and television 
stations. There are no restrictions on ownership of print 
media, and Nigeria has a lively press. Among the many 
Nigerian daily newspapers are seven privately owned national 
dailies with large circulations, one daily owned by the 
Federal Government, and another in which the Federal 
Government owns a majority share. Many states operate their 
own daily or weekly newspapers. In some states, privately 
owned dailies compete with state papers. Six weekly 
newsmagazines (including two new ones in 1988) vie for 
national readership. 

In practice criticism of the Government is tolerated, and 
there is generally open discussion of political, social, and 
economic issues. The AFRC, however, uses various techniques 
to limit public political expression and press freedom, e.g., 
it frequently cautions journalists, both publicly and 
privately, on their responsibility and the limits of the 
Government's tolerance of press freedom. As a result, 
journalists maintain that self-censorship is common. 

In 1988 federal and state governments continued to interrogate 
and detain editors and reporters of newspapers when those 
organs published stories with which the Government took strong 
exception. There have also been allegations of harassment of 
editors and publishers by the security forces. Government 
officials have denied access to certain government buildings 
(such as State House) to journalists who published stories 
which the Government found embarrassing. The magazine This 
Week was suspended for several weeks for publishing a story on 
the President's advisors. 

The Government also influences publications through 
administrative means. The military governor of Lagos State 
was considering a law which would compel publishers to send 
advance copies of publications to state officials when 
requested and to inform them of appointments of new editors. 
Penalties for violations would include heavy fines or closure 
of press offices. Because Lagos is the governmental, 
commercial, and information center of Nigeria, this edict 
would have repercussions throughout Nigeria if enacted. 
Several other states were also reported to have enacted such 
laws or to be considering them. 

Academic freedom has generally been respected, although events 
in 1988 clouded the picture. In March the Government deported 
a university professor, Patrick Wilmot, a Jamaican national 



263 



NIGERIA 

who had lived in Nigeria since 1970 and is married to a 
Nigerian citizen. Although the Government accused Wilmot of 
spying for the South African Government, it never attempted to 
bring him to trial, nor did it produce any evidence to 
substantiate the charges. The Government, however, accused 
Wilmot of being a "radical" and of inciting students to 
"radical activities." His deportation came at a time when the 
Government had begun to warn Nigerians against so-called 
radical activity, and one state governor commented that "the 
deportation of Dr. Wilmot is a note of warning to other 
university dons who might toe his line." The Government has 
also cited the activity of "radicals" within the National 
Association of Nigerian students (NANS) and the Nigerian 
Labour Congress (NLC) as one of the reasons for banning the 
former and suspending the latter. The Academic Staff Union of 
Universities (ASUU) was also proscribed by decree in July. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Nigeria's 1979 Constitution assures all citizens the right to 
assemble freely and to associate with other persons in 
political parties, trade unions, or other special interest 
association. In practice, however, there are important 
limitations. The provision regarding the right to form and 
join political parties was suspended by Decree 9 of 1984. 
This Decree also authorizes the Government to dissolve or ban 
any other group considered to have objectives similar to those 
of a political party. Police monitor gatherings suspected of 
violating the ban. The Government frequently reminded 
Nigerians during 1988 of the continuing ban on political 
activity, and it also disbanded at least one group it 
suspected of violating the ban. The Government intends to 
allow the formation of political parties, limited to two, in 
1989, but has insisted that both political parties must be 
national--that is, command significant support in all 21 
states--and that neither be based on religion. 

Nigerians form and participate in a wide variety of special 
interest organizations, including religious groups, trade 
groups, women's organization, and professional associations. 
Organizations are not required to register with the 
Government. Following the March 1987 religious disturbances, 
however, the Government required that religious groups be 
sanctioned by either the Christian Association of Nigeria or 
the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. Permits are not 
normally required for public meetings unless the venue is 
outdoors in a government facility and police security would be 
appropriate. In most states, open-air religious services, 
outside a church or a mosque, continue to be prohibited. The 
ban on NANS remains in effect, although some universities have 
allowed campus student governments to return. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion ' 

Nigeria's 1979 Constitution prohibits the federal and state 
governments from adopting any religion as a state religion. 
This is adhered to in practice. Constitutional provisions 
providing for freedom of religious belief, religious practice, 
and religious education are generally respected. Allegations 
persist of harassment of Christians by officials in the 
predominantly Muslim areas of northern Nigeria in the form of 
bureaucratic obstacles to church construction that delay 



264 



NIGERIA 

projects, sometimes indefinitely. In 1988 Muslims in Plateau 
State, where Christians are in the majority in local 
governments, made similar charges. There are no restrictions 
on the numbers of clergy trained nor on contacts with 
coreligionists in other countries. Religious travel, 
including the hajj, is permitted and is even subsidized by the 
Federal Government. Missionaries and foreign clergy, though 
limited by quotas, are permitted to work in Nigeria. The 
Government places no obstacles in the way of Nigerian 
missionaries working in other countries. 

Tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities remain 
high in some parts of Nigeria, though there has been no 
repetition of the violent religious rioting which took place 
in the northern state of Kaduna in 1987. In the aftermath of 
those disturbances, the Governm.ent instituted a ban, still in 
effect, on all religious organizations on postprimary 
campuses, while reaffirm.ing the right of individual students 
to practice their religion in recognized places of worship. 
Several state governments temporarily banned religious 
preaching and the playing of religious cassettes outside 
places of worship, without the written permission of police. 
Publication of advertisements paid for by religious 
organizations remains banned, and religious programming on 
radio and television remains limited in some areas. In July 
1987, the Government launched the Advisory Council on 
Religious Affairs, comprised of equal numbers of Christian and 
Muslim leaders. Some Christian leaders initially boycotted 
the Council's proceedings. By mid-1988, the Council had won 
acceptance from leaders of both religious communities, 
although it had not held a formal meeting by the end of 1988. 
The 1982 ban on the Maitatsine religious sect, the source of 
bloody disturbances in 1982 and 1983, remains in effect. The 
group still exists but is closely monitored by the police. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Nigeria's Constitution entitles citizens to move freely 
throughout Nigeria and to reside where they wish. The same 
provision prohibits expulsion from Nigeria or the denial of 
entry to or exit from Nigeria to any citizen. In general, 
these provisions have been observed. Following the local 
elections in December 1987 and March 1988, the authorities 
ordered in June the chairmen of local government areas to 
inform their respective state governors of their travel 
outside of their areas. An attempt has also been made to 
order traditional rulers to inform local government chairmen 
of their travel. Police blockades, ostensibly to combat the 
high crime rate, are set up throughout the country, and 
security authorities are often accused of demanding bribes or 
staging false arrests. There have also been cases of military 
personnel harassing citizens or taking the law into their own 
hands over personal disputes without being disciplined or 
punished. The Government has spoken out against these 
practices, but there have been few prosecutions for them. 

Nigerians travel abroad in large numbers, and many thousands 
are studying abroad. Exit visas are not required. However, 
passports of editors and reporters have been seized to prevent 
them from traveling after their publications have printed 
stories offensive to the Government. Citizens who leave 
Nigeria have the right to' return. Citizenship cannot be taken 
away for any reason, including political reasons, from persons 
who are citizens by birth or naturalization. No known 



265 



NIGERIA 

penalties have been levied on Nigerians who have emigrated, 
settled abroad, or acquired another nationality. However, 
Nigeria does not recognize dual nationality, and 
naturalization in another country does not release Nigerians 
from Nigerian laws. 

Nigerians are free to change their place of work within 
Nigeria, but local laws and custom sometime disadvantage 
citizens not indigenous to the area. For example, access to 
limited places in elementary and secondary schools is more 
difficult for children of residents of other areas who must 
also pay higher school fees than the children of local 
residents . 

Nigerian law and practice permit temporary refuge and asylum 
in Nigeria for political refugees from other countries. 
Nigeria supports and cooperates with the Lagos office of the 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) . 
Repatriation of refugees is normally conducted in accordance 
with UNHCR standards. In 1987 and 1988, several hundred 
Chadian refugees were repatriated at their request. No 
refugees were expelled in 1988. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

In 1988 citizens did not have the right to change their 
national or state governments through the electoral process. 
The 30-member AFRC headed by President Babangida is the 
highest political authority in Nigeria; there is no elected 
legislative body, and political parties are prohibited. 
President Babangida has repeatedly stated that 1992 is the 
date for returning Nigeria to complete civilian rule. The 
Government based its program for transition to civilian rule 
on the recommendations of the civilian Political Bureau, which 
conducted a nationwide year-long public debate on Nigeria's 
political future during 1986 and presented its findings to the 
AFRC in April 1987. While many of the Bureau's 
recommendations were accepted, the Government rejected or 
amended many other significant provisions, especially on 
socioeconomic policy. An appointed civilian Constitutional 
Review Commission completed its work in early 1988 and in 
April presented a draft constitution to the AFRC. 

In June the Constituent Assembly, made up of representatives 
elected by local government areas and including 
representatives of special groups (labor, women, religious 
leaders) -appointed by the Government, began the process of 
ratifying the Constitution. The new Constitution is expected 
to resemble closely Nigeria's 1979 Constitution. The 
Government, however, recommended a major change calling for a 
two-party rather than the multiparty system which permitted 
six political parties to participate in the last elections in 
1983. While the Government has generally permitted 
deliberations to proceed without interference, it ended the 
Assembly's debate on extending the jurisdiction of Shari'a 
Islamic courts when Christian and Muslim delegates became 
deadlocked. 

The Government also appointed a National Population Commission 
to undertake a nationwide census in 1991. The Government has 
indicated, however, that the results of the census will not be 
used for redrawing political districts for the national 
elections in 1992. 



266 



NIGERIA 

In December 1987, the Government organized elections for local 
government area councils. In those jurisdictions where the 
results of these elections were invalidated because of fraud 
or mismanagement (about 6 percent of the total), new elections 
were held in March. In September the Federal Military- 
Government suspended from office an elected chairman of a 
local government area for alleged financial irregularities 
connected to his involvement with a state-owned company. This 
act established that during the period of transition to 
civilian rule, the Federal Military Government may suspend 
elected officials without reference to the judiciary. 

In local government elections, all citizens 18 years and older 
were eligible to vote. Dates have been set for additional 
elections at local and state level in the run-up to 1992. 

Thousands of former Nigerian government officials, both 
civilian and military, are prohibited from participating fully 
in the transition process, although they remain eligible to 
vote. In September 1987, the Government significantly 
extended a ban announced in 1986 on partisan political 
activity for a large number of former politicians from the 
last civilian regime (1979-83) to include many political 
figures from the first civilian republic (1960-66) and past 
and present high-ranking military leaders. These persons, 
including President Babangida himself, will be barred from 
contesting any election until after the transition is 
completed in 1992. Also, former politicians who were officers 
of the previous parties will be forbidden to hold office in 
any political party or to run for elected office until that 
time. Furthermore, any person convicted or removed from 
office for various misdeeds at any time since 1960 will be 
banned for life from contesting elections or holding any 
political party office. 

Along with the July 1987 announcement of the political 
transition program, the Government promulgated Decree 19 of 
1987, which makes persons who might in any way forestall or 
prejudice the transition program liable to a prison term of up 
to 5 years. The Special Tribunal authorized to try offenses 
under Decree 19 was formed in October 1987. Its decisions may 
be appealed to the Special Appeal Tribunal. In addition, 
anyone who takes part in forming a political body prior to the 
lifting of Decree 9 (1984) or encourages others to join him in 
misrepresenting or distorting the provisions of the transition 
program is subject to the same penalty. No one has yet been 
charged under Decree 9, but the Government has frequently 
warned that such violations are being monitored and are 
subject to prosecution. 

The composition of the AFRC and Cabinet reflects greater 
ethnic and religious diversity than any Government in the 
recent past. There are currently no women, however, on the 
AFRC or the National Council of Ministers (Federal Cabinet). 
Five women serve as directors general in cabinet departments; 
some serve on state executive councils or as commissioners in 
state governments. A few women also won posts in the local 
government area elections in December and March. One woman 
sits on the Federal High Court, and several sit on State High 
Courts . 



267 



NIGERIA 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

As far as is known, the Government did not respond to Amnesty 
International's (AI's) several 1988 appeals concerning 
commutation of individual death sentences and an end to 
executions. There were no investigations of alleged human 
rights violations in Nigeria during 1988 by any international 
or nongovernmental agency. The Babangida Government has 
repeatedly renewed its pledge to uphold basic human rights and 
to tolerate criticism from local human rights advocates. It 
does not interfere with local human rights organizations. The 
Human Rights Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association 
monitors the domestic human rights situation and consistently 
speaks out against human rights abuses. At least three other 
groups also monitor human rights practices in Nigeria: the 
Council of Human Rights, an independent organization founded 
in late 1985; Citizens for Human Rights; and the Civil 
Liberties Organization, which was founded in 1987, discovered 
Ita-Oko prison and published what it considered human rights 
violations in 1988. The former Bar Association president and 
chairman of its human rights committee continues to hold the 
post of Attorney General and Minister of Justice. AI 
maintains an office in Ibadan and has active chapters 
throughout the country, both on university campuses and among 
civil servants. Its annual human rights report is publicized 
in the Nigerian Press. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

There is no official policy of discrimination among Nigeria's 
250 ethnic groups, and laws do not specifically favor one 
group over another. The Government generally makes a 
conscious effort to strike a balance among different groups in 
its decisionmaking and in appointment to key governmental 
positions. However, Nigeria has a long history of tension 
among the diverse ethnic groups, and tradition continues to 
impose considerable pressure on individual government 
officials to favor their own ethnic or religious group. 
Allegations of religious and ethnic favoritism or harassment 
persist. Ethnic and regional hiring quotas based on 
considerations of federal character are observed in most 
public sector employment. Persons whose family is not 
indigenous to their state of residence frequently experience 
difficulty in jobseeking, school enrollment, and other areas. 

Women have always had economic power and exerted influence in 
Nigerian society through women's councils or family 
connections. As primary school enrollment increases, women 
are gaining greater access to education. There has been a 
dramatic increase in the number of women who have university 
degrees and who have become professionals, including teachers, 
lawyers, doctors, judges, senior government officials, media 
figures, and business executives. Despite a degree of 
economic independence, women suffer discrimination in 
employment and other areas, experience social prejudice, and 
have only a few representatives in the political arena. 

The pattern of discrimination against women varies according 
to the ethnic and religious diversity of Nigeria's vast 
population. In some states, husbands can prevent their wives 
from obtaining employment or passports. In many states, a 
widow cannot inherit her husband's property, which in the 



268 



NIGERIA 

absence of children usually reverts to the husband's family. 
Women do not receive equal pay for equal work, and male 
professionals receive fringe benefits not extended to their 
female counterparts. Female circumcision is still practiced 
in some areas, as is the selling of young girls for marriage 
by poor rural families. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

In 1981 organized labor claimed 3 million members out of a 
total work force of 30 million. All Nigerian workers 16 years 
or older may join trade unions, with the exception of members 
of the armed forces and designated employees of essential 
government services as defined by the Federal Military 
Government, which it may vary by decree. Employers are 
obliged to recognize trade unions and must pay a dues checkoff 
for employees who are members of a registered trade union. 
Nigeria has an active trade union movement, and one which has 
been, within limits, relatively free. However, this movement 
has been subject to government oversight which reached 
extraordinary proportions during 1988. 

Despite provisions in the 1979 Constitution and Nigeria's 
ratification of 28 International Labor Organization (ILO) 
conventions, government decrees and policy continue to 
restrict labor freedoms. A 1978 decree created a single 
central labor body, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) , 
forcibly merged a number of unions into 42 industrial unions, 
and deregistered all other unions. The Government has not 
acted upon the ILO Committee of Experts' finding, first 
enunciated in 1979 and subsequently repeated, that this decree 
violates ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and 
protection of the right to organize, to which Nigeria is a 
party. Nor has the Government accepted the Committee of 
Experts' recommendation that the decree be amended. 

Since 1978 the NLC has been subject to close government 
oversight. In February 1988, the Government dissolved the 
national and state executive councils of the NLC, appointed a 
temporary administrator, and in September announced that it 
would merge the present 42 unions into 19 prior to holding new 
NLC elections in December; the plan was abandoned prior to the 
elections . 

The 1978 decree also created senior staff associations for 
white collar workers, which a 1986 decree explicitly excluded 
from NLC membership, forcing two such associations to withdraw. 

Since 1975 government policy has permitted international labor 
affiliation only with the ILO and the Organization of African 
Trade Union Unity and associated pan-African labor 
federations. Government policy does permit, however, informal 
"fraternal relations" with foreign unions and international 
trade secretariats as long as there is no formal affiliation. 

The right to strike is recognized by law, again except in the 
case of essential services. The definition of essential 
services varies; in 1988 nurses struck and were allowed to 
negotiate their grievances. On the other hand, during the 
April-May labor unrest, the Federal Military Government made 
it clear that strikes by utility workers would not be 
tolerated . 



269 



NIGERIA 

Work stoppages, strikes, and protests during 1988 focused 
primarily upon worker and trade union opposition to the 
Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and pay issues. The NLC 
organized a campaign in November 1987 to protest against the 
Government's announced intent to remove or reduce oil 
subsidies as a part of the SAP. A series of nationwide 
strikes, focused in the north, took place in April when the 
Government raised petroleum product prices by amounts varying 
from 6 percent to 300 percent. The Government detained an 
estimated 140 workers and trade union leaders in the wake of 
these strikes. They were eventually released as part of an 
agreement between the unions and the Government to end the 
strikes and to undertake extended discussion between 
government and labor representatives over the issues 
involved. Those discussions continued at year's end. 

University lecturers went on strike in June to demand payment 
of salary increases promised them since January, and bank 
workers were also on strike in July demanding payment of new 
salary increases. In October some senior employees of the 
National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) disrupted power in 
the north and elsewhere, demanding NEPA's commercialization, 
removal of employees from the civil service structure, and 
increased salaries. In November railway workers struck for 1 
day to press their demand for 3-months' back salaries. 
Dockworkers went on strike in December, protesting the delayed 
payment of salary step increases to which they were entitled. 

In response to the June strike by professors and staff, the 
Government proscribed the Academic Staff Union of Universities 
(ASUU) , which has not been replaced by another organization. 
Government officials claimed the strike continued illegally 
after the dispute had been referred to the industrial 
arbitration panel. The 1978 Trade Disputes Decree forbids 
strikes and lockouts while disputes are under mediation by 
this body. In December, 11 senior NEPA employees were 
sentenced to life imprisonment, subject to confirmation by the 
AFRC, for conspiracy and inducing certain employees to disrupt 
electrical power service. Also in December, the Government 
released three bank union officials, who had been detained 
since July. The release of the bank officials was believed to 
be a good will gesture toward the newly elected President of 
the NLC, Paschal Bafyau. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The labor laws of Nigeria permit collective bargaining between 
management and trade unions. However, a series of restrictive 
measures imposed by the Government during the last 2 years 
significantly reduced the range of issues left for 
bargaining. In February 1987, the National Economic Emergency 
Decree of 1985, which granted the Federal Military Government 
broad authority over labor matters, was extended for 2 more 
years. The Federal Military Government transferred to state 
governments the power involuntarily to deduct special levies 
from the salaries of workers for financing state development 
projects. A national wage freeze, imposed in 1984, was lifted 
in January, allowing a return to collective bargaining on 
basic salary levels. Collective bargaining is common in the 
industrial sector of the economy which, however, is relatively 
small. Nigerian law protects workers against retaliation by 
employers for labor activity. Labor legislation is applied 
uniformly throughout Nigeria. 



270 

NIGERIA 

I c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

Nigeria's 1979 Constitution provides that "no person shall be 
required to perform forced or compulsory labor." While this 
provision is generally observed, two exceptions have been 
made. The first is the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) 
begun under the Gowon regime (1966-1975). All Nigerian youths 
or young adults who have completed college or university 
training and are under the age of 30 must complete 1 year of 
work in the NYSC. Jobs range from agriculture to office work 
and teaching, and some effort is made to match jobs with 
previous training or post-NYSC occupational goals. The 
Government also attempts to use the NYSC to build "federal 
character" by sending individuals to work in parts of the 
country away from their area of upbringing or ethnic 
affiliation. The other exception is the environmental 
clean-up campaign, begun under the Shagari regime and 
continued by the present Government. All citizens are 
required to spend the morning of the final Saturday of each 
month tidying their house, yard, and neighborhood. All 
movement during this period is suspended, and persons may be 
arrested for violating this rule. This does not include 
emergencies or official travel. At the end of the morning, 
full freedom of movement is restored. 

The ILO Committee of Experts has noted that various provisions 
of the Labor Decree of 1974, the Merchant Shipping Act, and 
the Trade Disputes Decree of 1976 impose sanctions that 
obligate work for breaches of labor discipline or for taking 
part in a strike. The Committee has urged the Government to 
adopt the necessary measures to bring these laws into 
compliance with ILO Convention 105. 

d. Minimum Age of Employment of Children 

Nigeria's 1974 Labor Decree prohibits employment of children 
under 15 years of age in commerce and industry and restricts 
other child labor to home-based agricultural or domestic 
work. The Labor Decree does allow the apprenticeship of 
youths aged 13 to 15, but only under specific conditions. 
Apprenticeship exists in a wide range of crafts, trades and 
state enterprises; with respect to apprentices over the age of 
15, their activity is not specifically regulated by the 
Government. As most of Nigeria's large population lives in 
rural areas, the Government's ability to enforce these laws is 
limited . 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Nigeria's 1974 Labor Decree also established a 40-hour 
workweek, prescribes 2 to 4 weeks of annual leave, and sets a 
minimum hourly wage for commerce and industry which amounts to 
about $25 a month. This wage is sufficient only for the most 
minimal standard of living in the cities. The 1974 Decree 
contains general health and safety provisions, some aimed 
specifically at young and female workers, enforceable by the 
Ministry of Employment, Labour, and Productivity. Employers 
must compensate injured workers and dependent survivors of 
those killed in industrial accidents. The ineffectiveness of 
the Ministry in enforcing these laws in the workplace is 
regularly criticized by labor unions. 



271 



RWANDA 



Rwanda is a one-party state which has been ruled by Major 
General Juvenal Habyarimana since his accession to power in a 
nonviolent coup in 1973. Founder of the single party, the 
National Revolutionary Movement for Development (MRND) , he was 
again confirmed as President in the December 1988 elections. 
The President sets government policy in consultation with the 
party's Central Committee and the Council of Ministers. The 
National Development Council (the legislature), established in 
1982, ratifies laws but is not independent from the MRND. 
Legislative candidates must be approved by the party, which 
normally approves two candidates per seat. 

The major organizations responsible for administration of 
justice include the Ministry of Justice, the judicial police, 
and the gendarmerie, a paramilitary force which receives 
specialized police training. In addition, the Central 
Intelligence Service in the Office of the President can make 
certain decisions which may not be appealed, such as denial of 
passports to Rwandan citizens or the extension of visas and 
residence permits to foreigners. 

Most Rwandans are poor rural farmers. There is little 
industry, and imports are expensive because of high 
transportation costs. Food production has managed to keep 
pace with the high population growth rate. Rwanda's major 
exports are coffee and tea, and the Government has a liberal 
policy toward trade and investment. 

Restrictions in practice on freedoms of religion, speech, 
association, and the right of citizens to change their 
government continued in 1988. The Government in 1987 released 
295 members of certain religious sects convicted of charges 
(refusal to join a political party) relating to observance of 
their religion. In 1988 the Government denied a request by 
one of those sects, the Jehovah's Witnesses, for legal 
recognition; but it has not interfered with their right to 
practice their religion. Public pronouncements by the 
President and the Minister of Justice frequently refer to the 
importance of human rights. Rwanda hosted in June a seminar 
on the promotion of human rights in Africa. Also in 1988, it 
gave temporary asylum to 41,000 Burundi nationals (mainly 
Hutus) fleeing ethnic violence in northern Burundi. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There was no evidence of politically motivated killing at 
government instigation in 1988. In May 1988, an army sergeant 
accused of the murder of a prominent colonel reportedly died 
during interrogation by military and security authorities. 
Subsequently, three officers were arrested in connection with 
the case. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no unexplained disappearances in 1988. 



272 



RWANDA 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There were no reports of torture in 1988. In the past, 
Amnesty International (AI) has noted allegations of torture 
made in court by political prisoners, involving severe 
beatings and the use of electrical shock treatment. But AI 
also noted the Minister of Justice's efforts to punish 
security and police officials found to have mistreated 
prisoners. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Except for suspects caught in the act of committing crimes, 
arrests are made with a warrant following an investigation. 
There were no known exceptions in 1988 to the legally mandated 
warrant procedures. In most cases, charges must be stated 
formally in the defendant's presence within 5 days of arrest. 
Failure to meet this requirement constitutes grounds for 
dismissal of the charges. 

Under broad preventive detention provisions, persons may be 
held for 30 days if public safety is believed to be 
threatened, if the accused might flee, or if the penalty 
carries a minimum sentence of 6 months. At the end of that 
period, judicial review is mandatory. Detention may be 
prolonged indefinitely for 30-day periods. Detainees may 
appeal their incarceration, and the appeal must be heard 
within 24 hours by a competent judicial authority. Ministry 
of Justice personnel conduct daily official visits to prisons 
to assure that proper documentation exists for each detainee. 
These officials can order detainees released if arrest 
conditions do not conform to the law. 

Rwandan security forces occasionally employ arbitrary arrest 
and detention on political or security grounds. Most 
detentions are short-term, often for less than 24 hours. 
However, in January 1988, several relatives and associates of 
a Rwandan exile who had been implicated in a 1980 coup attempt 
were arrested and held without charge or judicial review. 
They remained in prison without charge at the end of the year. 

Sentencing to exile does not exist. With regard to forced or 
compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The judiciary is statutorily independent and expected to apply 
the penal code impartially, but in practice the Government 
exercises influence in political and security cases. The 
President appoints and dismisses magistrates. Laws passed in 
1982 strengthened the independence of the judiciary by 
improving the process of selecting judicial personnel and more 
closely defining their functions. The administration of 
justice has been hampered by poor management and a generally 
low level of education among civil servants. The Ministry of 
Justice conducts training programs for officials and judges 
and plans to establish a magistrate training center. In 1987 
over 650 magistrates participated in two seminars organized by 
the Ministry, and another 30 magistrates took part in an 
intensive 9-month training program. The Ministry was planning 
another series of training seminars for magistrates, court 
clerks, and judicial administrators. 



273 



All defendants are constitutionally entitled to counsel; but 
because of a shortage of lawyers, many defendants are not 
represented at trial. Family and other nonprofessional 
advisors are permitted. Trials are public, and those which 
arouse extensive public interest are often broadcast to the 
street to permit persons who cannot be seated in the courtroom 
to follow the proceedings. 

Rwanda has three separate court systems for criminal/civil, 
military, and state security cases. All but security cases 
ultimately may be appealed to the Court of Appeals. Convicted 
criminals must file an appeal within 3 months of the date of 
judgment. In April 1987, the President criticized the 
practice of some judges of delaying and backdating the 
issuance of court opinions, thus effectively eliminating the 
possibility of an appeal. He ordered the implementation of 
administrative procedures to stop such abuses. The State 
Security Court has jurisdiction over national security charges 
such as treason. Decisions of this Court may not be appealed 
before the Court of Appeals. If procedural violations are 
alleged in security cases, these may be brought before the 
Court of Cassation. If the Court of Cassation finds that 
procedural violations occurred, the case is sent back to the 
State Security Court and is tried by a different panel of 
judges . 

At the end of 1988, Rwanda was holding three prisoners 
convicted of crimes against domestic security. These include 
the former chief of state security, who was involved in a coup 
attempt in 1980. Along with four codef endants , he was 
convicted of murder for the killing of political prisoners and 
was sentenced to death in 1985. His sentence, as well as that 
of one of his codefendants, was commuted to life imprisonment 
in 1988. The other prisoner's sentence has been reduced to 20 
years. Four other prisoners implicated in the 1980 coup 
attempt were released from prison in 1988 after completing 
their sentences. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

Rwandans are subject to occasional interference in their 
private lives. Police normally are required to have warrants 
before entering a private residence, but, using the pretext of 
checking required documentation, authorities in practice gain 
entry into homes without warrants. There is no evidence that 
the Government monitors private correspondence, and the 
receipt of foreign publications is permitted. 

All Rwandans are required to be members of the MRND and to pay 
party dues. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The law guarantees freedom of speech and press, but these 
statutory assurances are not observed. Open criticism of 
government policies and officials is rare. Such criticism 
increased somewhat in 1987, but appears to have lessened in 
1988. The Government sought to mute critical statements in 
the months leading up to presidential and legislative 
elections, primarily through the increased presence of 
security agents in public places and through occasional 
short-term detentions. Candidates in the 1988 legislative 



274 



RWANDA 

elections were restricted to expressing opinions and 
advocating policies consistent with party doctrine. Members 
of the National Development Council have in the past 
criticized government policies from the floor of the Council. 

The Government controls radio broadcasting (the most important 
medium in reaching the public) and produces a daily press 
bulletin and a weekly newspaper. Two Catholic church 
publications sometimes print muted criticism of political and 
economic conditions. Such criticism is tolerated and 
occasionally even encouraged by the Government. There is no 
record of any journalist having been arrested for what he has 
written. The Government has cautioned the press, however, to 
avoid what it regards as "harmful" criticism of leaders. It 
maintains that the press should devote its efforts to 
"promoting development." Books and imported publications are 
not censored. There were no known incidents involving 
restrictions on academic freedom of inquiry and research at 
the university. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Freedom of assembly is limited. No public meetings or 
demonstrations are permitted if there is any chance they will 
result in expressions of overt opposition to government 
policies. The Government permits private associations, but it 
requires that they be officially registered and accorded legal 
recognition. For a discussion of freedom of association as it 
applies to labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Freedom of religion is provided for in the Constitution, but 
limited government harassment of and discrimination against 
several nonconformist religious groups, including the 
Jehovah's Witnesses, continues. The Government denied a 
Witnesses' request for legal recognition in October. Many 
observers believe this was on the grounds that the group 
refuses to recognize its authority to require citizens to 
salute the national flag, to join the sole political party, or 
to join the army. Government officials have indicated, 
however, that the Witnesses' right to practice their religion 
will not be impeded. 

The population is 70 percent Christian and 1 percent Muslim, 
with the remainder following traditional African or no 
religious practices. Eighty percent of the Christians are 
Roman Catholic, but there are active Protestant 
denominations. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kigali, who 
had been a member of the MRND Central Committee, resigned from 
the Committee in January 1986, apparently to bring his status 
into accord with Vatican doctrine. The Government depends 
upon church-sponsored schools for a considerable portion of 
education in Rwanda (over 85 percent of secondary schools are 
church sponsored) . 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

Freedom of movement and residence within Rwanda is restricted 
by laws and regulations which require all residents to hold 
national identity cards and residence and work permits. 
People who wish to spend more than 3 days in a township other 
than their own m.ust obtain permission from the authorities of 
the area they will be visiting. Police conduct periodic 



275 



RWANDA 

checks, especially in urban areas, and return all those not 
registered in the locality to' their own township. Property 
owners who do not require tenants to show valid documentation 
are subject to fines and even imprisonment. Undocumented 
tenants are subject to expulsion. 

A major deterrent to foreign travel was eliminated in 1987, 
when the Government abolished the requirement for posting 
substantial deposits (as much as $600) with passport 
applications. Applicants now need only pay a small ($20) 
nonrefundable fee for a passport, and they must hold a valid 
exit visa. Foreign travel is controlled by means of a 
security check of all passport applicants conducted by the 
Central Intelligence Service, but unexplained refusals appear 
to be less frequent than in the past. Properly documented 
Rwandans may emigrate. 

There are an estimated 225,000 Rwandan refugees in neighboring 
countries. Most are ethnic Tutsis who fled Rwanda during the 
revolution of 1959 and subsequent ethnic violence associated 
with independence in 1962. Official policy permits these 
people to be repatriated on a case by case basis if the 
refugee does not represent a security risk, and if land is 
available in Rwanda. The lack of land, therefore, effectively 
precludes any significant repatriation. In 1988 approximately 
24 refugees returned to Rwanda from Burundi. The Government's 
position is that demographic pressures and strained economic 
resources preclude any large-scale return of these refugees. 
It has encouraged countries hosting the refugees to offer to 
naturalize them; this has not been well received by Rwanda's 
neighbors . 

Rwanda hosts some 19,000 Burundi refugees (mainly Hutu) who 
fled the 1972 massacres. In mid-1988, 41,000 Burundi 
nationals fleeing ethnic violence again sought refuge in 
Rwanda. The Rwandan Government refused to accord official 
refugee status to this latest group but did grant temporary 
asylum. Rwanda has received widespread praise for its efforts 
to meet the humanitarian needs of these refugees, most of whom 
had returned voluntarily to Burundi by the end of 1988. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: the Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Rwandans have no opportunity to change their government 
through a free choice of alternative candidates from opposing 
parties. The MRND, the sole body permitted political 
activity, makes all policy decisions and nominates all 
candidates for public office. It in turn is dominated by the 
President, who also holds the position of President of the 
MRND. He chooses the Central Committee members and is the 
only constitutionally recognized candidate for president. 
Every citizen is automatically a party member and is required 
to pay party dues representing 2 days' pay per year. 
Delegates are both elected and appointed to the party's 
governing National Congress, which meets every 2 years. The 
essential function of the Congress is to endorse the programs 
presented by the party leadership. The 1988 Congress 
rejected calls for the election of local party officials by 
secret ballot rather than the raising of hands. 

Only candidates approved by the party may run for the 
legislature, the National Development Council. The President 
also can veto candidates for the Council. Within the 
one-party system, the voters can, and sometimes do defeat 



276 



RWANDA 

incumbents in elections. Presidential and legislative 
elections are held every 5 years, most recently in December 
1988 when President Habyarimana was reelected to a fourth 
5-year term. There is only one candidate for the presidency; 
each legislative slot has two candidates nominated by the 
party, who are identified on official documents as to their 
ethnic origin. Votes for the President are cast by means of 
color-coded cards indicating a yes or no vote. 

Women play a relatively minor role in Rv;andan political life. 
The 25-member MRND Central Committee includes 3 women, and, as 
a result of the December 1988 elections, the National 
Development Council has 12 female deputies out of a total of 
70 members. The Vice President of the Kigali Court of Appeals 
is a woman. A number of women serve on local councils. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Rwanda has taken some steps in recent years to participate in 
human rights activities and to improve its human rights 
record. It receives and cooperates with delegations from 
human rights groups, including a delegation from Amnesty 
International in May 1986. Representatives of the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made a regular 
visit to prisons and spent 3 weeks in Rwanda in the fall of 
1987. There were no reports of requests for outside 
investigations of alleged human rights violations in 1988. 
The Ministry of Justice hosted a conference in June on human 
rights which was attended by representatives of 12 Francophone 
African countries. The conference focused on the preparation 
of human rights reports required by U.N. agencies and other 
organizations . 

Rwanda is a signatory to the International Covenants on 
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and on Civil and 
Political Rights, as well as the African Charter of Human and 
People's Rights. Rwanda is also a member of the U.N. Human 
Rights Commission. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

In 1959 the majority Hutu ethnic group (89 percent of the 
population, according to the 1978 census) overthrew the Tutsi 
monarchy. In 1962 Belgium granted internal autonomy and then 
independence to a Hutu-led government which had overwhelmingly 
won a U.N . -supervised election. This movement against the 
Tutsi marked the end of the traditional, feudal society in 
which the Hutu had lived in subordination for centuries, and 
the beginning of a more modern society that places greater 
emphasis on individual rights. During the next decade, Hutu 
efforts to redress the social, economic, and educational 
discrimination suffered under Tutsi rule led to division and 
corruption among the Hutus and to sporadic ethnic strife. 
This gave rise to the coup d'etat which brought President 
Habyarimana, a Hutu, to power in 1973. 

The Constitution states that "all citizens are equal before 
the law, without any discrimination, notably that of race, 
color, origin, ethnicity, clan, sex, opinion, religion, or 
social position." However, the legal requirement that ethnic 
origin be listed on identity documents serves to ensure that 
informal quotas corresponding to the Hutu/Tutsi ratio in 



277 



society are not exceeded. The Tutsi minority is in fact 
discriminated against in education and has been relegated to a 
minor role in government, civil service, and the military. 
Private business is the only aspect of society in which the 
Tutsis wield any significant influence. 

Following the Government's steps to restrict the activities of 
some religious groups, there have been incidents of 
discrimination based on religious affiliation. In 1986, for 
example, one high ranking government official reportedly was 
threatened with arrest because of his membership in the 
Jehovah's Witnesses, and three Witnesses were fired from the 
Ministry of Transport and Communication for their religious 
beliefs . 

Women perform most of the agricultural labor and have 
benefited less than men from social development. Despite the 
language in the Constitution, women's rights to property are 
limited, and women are not treated equally in divorce 
proceedings. Moreover, women have fewer opportunities for 
education, employment, and promotion. Family planning 
services are inadequate but are improving, and the President 
has been an outspoken advocate of family planning efforts. 
There are few organizations promoting women's interests, and 
efforts to establish a national women's organization within 
the party have been unsuccessful. The Government is 
completing revision of the Rwandan Family Code. The new Code 
will modernize Rwandan laws concerning marriage, divorce, the 
status of children born out of wedlock, child custody, and 
other elements of family law. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The Rwandan economy consists largely of subsistence farming. 
There is very little industry, and hence few workers in the 
modern, wage economy. Labor organizations have just begun to 
develop, and the Government is guiding this evolution through 
a new labor union, the Central Union of Rwandan Workers 
(CESTRAR) . The Union is integrated into the sole political 
party, the MRND, Other workers' associations no longer have 
the right to exist independently but must affiliate with 
CESTRAR. CESTRAR' s organizers contend that having a variety 
of different labor organizations might threaten national 
unity. CESTRAR' s Executive Committee was elected in December 
1987, and a number of training sessions and organizational 
conferences have taken place. Union membership (open to all 
salaried workers) is optional. 

While CESTRAR's mandate is still evolving, initial indications 
are that CESTRAR's leadership intends to focus on 
nonwage-related work conditions and on providing training 
opportunities to its members. In theory, CESTRAR members have 
the right to strike, but only with the approval of the 
Executive Committee — in effect, the Government. CESTRAR has 
established positive relations with employer organizations to 
improve labor conditions. However, CESTRAR remains primarily 
a political instrument designed to encourage more active party 
involvement by salaried workers. CESTRAR is affiliated with 
the Organization of African Trade Union Unity and the 
Organization of Central African Workers. 



278 



RWANDA 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

The right to organize "professional organizations" and to 
engage in collective bargaining with employers granted by the 
labor code is exercised within the framework of CESTRAR. 
Government control of CESTRAR combined with the small size of 
the wage economy is a significant constraint on the collective 
bargaining process. Labor laws are implemented uniformly 
throughout the country. There are no export processing zones. 

c. Prohibition of Forced and Compulsory Labor 

Forced labor is prohibited by Rwandan law and does not occur 
in practice. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

Except in the subsistence agriculture sector, which is the 
overwhelming employment of most Rwandans, children under 18 
are not permitted to work without their parents' or guardian's 
authorization, and they may work at night only under 
exceptional circumstances on a temporary basis. The Minister 
of Labor may grant work permission to a child under 14. Child 
labor outside the agricultural sector is uncommon. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

Minimum wages in the small modern economic sector are set by 
the Ministry of Labor. The current minimum wage is 
approximately $1.50 per day; higher minimum wages apply to 
certain professions. The minimum wage is inadequate to 
provide a decent standard of living for urban families and is 
often supplemented by work in petty commerce or agriculture. 
Hours of work and occupational health and safety in the modern 
wage sector are controlled by lav; and enforced by labor 
inspectors. Government offices and most private sector 
companies have a 43 hour workweek which includes Saturday 
morning community service. 



279 



SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE* 



Sao Tome and Principe is a one-party state led by President 
Manuel Pinto da Costa since winning its independence from 
Portugal in 1975. He also leads its sole legal party, the 
Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP) , 
whose Central Committee is the key policymaking body. Most of 
the Ministers and Ministers-Delegate in the 12-member Cabinet 
(headed by the Prime Minister) are members of the Central 
Committee. The Popular Assembly is the country's legislative 
body and acts to ratify bills proposed by the President. In 
the postindependence period, the MLSTP prevailed over a more 
radical group, the Civic Association, some of whose members 
went into exile. 

The 300-member paramilitary Security Police Force reports to 
the Chief of Security Police in the Ministry of Defense. Sao 
Tome's small armed forces are supplemented by 300 Angolan 
soldiers, who have been present on Sao Tome since a 1978 
invasion threat and who help guard the airport and other 
strategic locations. There are now less than 50 Cuban 
technical advisers. Sao Tomean armed forces, acting without 
the help of the Angolan troops, successfully repulsed a March 
invasion attempt by 42 mostly unarmed "commandos," part of an 
exile group located in Portugal, who landed on Sao Tome 
expecting the island's population to rise up against the 
Government. They were quickly defeated. 

In 1984 the Government, recognizing that Marxist-Leninist 
economic practices had brought the economy to ruin, turned to 
Western nations and international financial and development 
institutions to help reinvigorate the economy. Previous 
inefficient, state-directed agricultural practices and 
policies, combined with a birth rate of about 3 percent, had 
resulted in serious food shortages and the need for food 
assistance, primarily from the United Nations' World Food 
Program. President Pinto da Costa reorganized his Government 
in January to try to cope more effectively with the continuing 
economic crisis and to implement reforms being negotiated with 
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. One 
key aspect of the economic reforms is a land privatization 
plan which will turn state-owned plantation land back to 
private farmers. 

Human rights are tightly circumscribed in Sao Tome and 
Principe. Constitutional changes begun in 1987 may broaden 
political participation somewhat. For example, organizations 
other than the MLSTP will be allowed to run candidates for the 
Popular Assembly elections. The Government also moved in 1988 
to include some of the former exile leaders, notably the 
present Foreign Minister, Dr. Carlos da Graca. The Government 
publicly committed itself in 1988 to permit due process, 
including an open trial, for the 40 commandos detained after 
the coup attempt. The trial had not begun by the end of the 
year . 



*There is no American Embassy in Sao Tome. Information on the 
human rights situation is therefore limited. 



90-641 - 89 - 10 



280 



SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings by the 
Government. However, two commandos were killed by security 
forces during the March 8 invasion. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

There is little information available on this subject. Prison 
conditions are known to be severe. Amnesty International (AI) 
made a special appeal to the Government in 1988 expressing 
concern about possible mistreatment of the arrested 
commandos. About 20 of the detainees were interviewed on 
television a few days after the arrests, and many viewers 
observed that the face of one of the commando leaders appeared 
bruised and swollen. AI reported that the detainees were held 
incommunicado, without access to family or legal counsel. 
Since spring, families have had access to prisoners. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The 40 opposition commandos are in prison awaiting trial. The 
Foreign Minister told the press in September that these 
persons would be brought to trial soon, that they would be 
provided defense counsel, and that the trial would be open to 
the press. However, at the end of 1988 the trial had not 
begun. Several other people also were arrested in the wake of 
the coup attempt, but fears that the Government might use the 
"invasion" as an excuse for wide-scale arrests of government 
critics did not materialize. 

With the return to Sao Tome of Carlos da Graca, former 
Minister of Health and currently Foreign Minister, one of the 
country's two most important exile figures has accepted 
President Pinto da Costa's standing invitation to return to 
the islands. Former Prime Minister Miguel Trovoada and many 
lesser known government opponents still remain in self-exile. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Justice is administered at the highest level by the Supreme 
Tribunal, named by and responsible to the Popular Assembly. 
Thus the judiciary's independence is limited. Lower tribunals 
are appointed to try military cases. The Constitution does 
not address the right to a public trial, but there have been 
instances of public trials in recent years. Criminal trials 
occasionally are reported by the local media. In most cases, 
common criminals are given a hearing and are sentenced by a 
judge. There is no tradition of independent defense counsel 
or jury. 



281 



SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Government ensures that potential dissidents are 
identified through a loosely organized system of informers and 
monitoring of political activities. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

No public criticism of, or opposition, to the Government is 
tolerated, but MLSTP Central Committee members have criticized 
government policies and personalities in closed sessions. 
These criticisms rapidly become public knowledge after the 
sessions, with no apparent adverse consequences for the 
critics. Sao Tome media, consisting of a television station, 
a radio station, and occasionally a newspaper, are government 
controlled and reflect faithfully the government and party 
line . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

These freedoms are limited. Historically, political assembly 
and activity have been legal only within the context of the 
MLSTP. Since October 1987, there has been an easing of 
assembly and association requirements. The MLSTP Central 
Committee authorized a constitutional amendment permitting 
nonparty groups to propose candidates for election to the 
Popular Assembly, which may lead to more open discussions and 
meetings. Functions sponsored by cultural and social 
organizations require government authorization. In another 
recent development, cooperative and professional associations 
are now permitted with government approval. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Religious freedom is provided for in the Constitution. The 
three major religious communities--Roman Catholic, Protestant, 
and Seventh-Day Adventist--are allowed to practice freely. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The geographic isolation and poverty of this island country 
severely limit foreign travel by its citizens. The Government 
closely controls exit visas for the few people who 
travel--almost exclusively those on government missions or 
medical evacuation trips. Citizens move freely around and 
between the island of Sao Tome and the smaller island of 
Principe, 90 miles away. But the lack of interisland 
transport (by slow ferry or twice-a-week propeller plane) 
makes such travel difficult. Many Sao Tomeans live in Gabon 
and Angola, due mostly to the lack of employment opportunities 
on the islands. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

The present one-party political system does not accord 
citizens the right to change their government through the 
electoral process. Political power is exercised by the ruling 



282 



SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 

sole political party, the Movement for the Liberation of Sao 
Tome and Principe (MLSTP) , and its leader, Sao Tome President 
Manuel Pinto da Costa. To maintain his leadership position, 
the President requires the support of a majority of the MLSTP 
Central Committee, a group which represents diverse economic 
and political ideologies and can be fractious on occasion. 
Government policy is formulated by President Pinto da Costa in 
consultation with the Prime Minister and other key cabinet and 
security officials. 

Following changes in the party constitution proposed in 
October 1987, the MLSTP now encourages multicandidate 
elections for Popular Assembly seats and direct election of 
the President of the Republic (previously election was by vote 
of the members of the Popular Assembly) by secret ballot. All 
candidates must still be approved by the MLSTP. Elections of 
the President and the members of the Popular Assembly are held 
every 5 years. The last elections were held in September 1985. 

Two women hold important positions in the Government-- 
the President of the Popular Assembly and Minister of 
Education and Culture. However, in general women play a 
limited role in political life. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

Sao Tome is an isolated nation with little outside contact. 
The Government reacted postively — promising an open trial for 
the invaders--to Amnesty International's 1988 appeal for the 
well-being of, and due process treatment for the arrested 
commandos. No groups in the country are known to monitor 
human rights developments. Sao Tome is a member of the U.N. 
Commission on Human Rights. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

The Sao Tomean population (94,000 on Sao Tome, 20,000 on 
Principe) is relatively homogeneous in a common Luso-African 
culture. There have been no reports of political 
discrimination on a tribal, regional, sexual, or religious 
basis. Sao Tome citizens of Cape Verdean origin are regarded 
as overly ambitious, and there is resentment of them by the 
rest of the populace. The inhabitants of Principe often feel 
neglected by the central Government, an attitude accentuated 
by the current economic crisis. 

Like men, women face drudgery and low wages on the large cocoa 
plantations. A disproportionately small number of women have 
gained access to government and professional positions. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The right of association is restricted. The sole trade union 
is affiliated with the party and exists mainly on paper. Most 
salaried workers in the country are on the large state-owned 
empresas (plantation-like agricultural enterprises) and 
generally do not leave the estate, which includes all 
community facilities. 



283 



SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 

There is no explicit legislation forbidding strikes, but no 
strikes have been held, and it is doubtful that strikes would 
be permitted by the Government. Sao Tome and Principe is a 
member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) but does 
not always send worker delegations to ILO conferences. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

There is no information currently available on whether 
collective bargaining is legally permitted, but the Government 
is the determining force in setting wages and working 
conditions. Because of mismanagement, neglect, and 
unproductivity of state-run empresa, workers are sometimes not 
paid salaries for up to 6 months. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
There is no forced or compulsory labor. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

A legal minimum employment age of 18 years is observed, 
although children perform agricultural work on family plots. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The beginning basic salary for an empresa worker is about $34 
per month, with the median salary being around $50 per month. 
These wages are not sufficient to provide a decent living for 
workers and their families. The empresa workers survive by 
running up debts at the company store, which are deducted from 
their "paper" wages. Workers are provided free (but very 
poor) housing, rudimentary medical care, and access to the 
subsidized company store. Implementation of IMF-imposed 
measures (such as devaluation of the currency and reductions 
in food subsidies) will make the empresa workers situation 
even more difficult in the short run. However, a few empresa 
have been turned over to private entrepreneurs, and the 
condition of workers on these estates is slowly improving as 
cocoa production increases and modern management techniques 
replace Socialist collective farming. 

Basic occupational health and safety standards are contained 
in the Social Security law of 1979. It is not known to what 
extent they are enforced. 



284 



SENEGAL 



Senegal is a republic with an elected president and unicameral 
legislature. Although Senegal has 17 legal political parties, 
the Socialist Party has dominated the political scene and 
controlled the Government since independence from France in 
1960. Vice President Abdou Diouf automatically succeeded the 
retiring President Leopold Senghor in January 1981. Diouf was 
elected President in his own right in the regularly scheduled 
elections 2 years later, and his Socialist Party won 111 of 
120 National Assembly seats. In the hotly contested 
presidential elections of February 1988 (the results of which 
were disputed by the opposition) , Diouf was reelected with 73 
percent of the vote. In the concurrent National Assembly 
elections, the Socialist Party took 103 seats and the 
opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) 17 seats. 

The Senegalese military (about 15,000 men, including the 
paramilitary gendarmerie) is a professional, disciplined force 
which maintains a tradition of aloofness from politics and is 
respected by the population. Civilian security forces are 
fairly well trained and generally respect the laws they 
enforce; those who do not face criminal prosecution. 

Although the Government and ruling party describe the national 
economy as socialist, Senegal in fact has a mixed economy with 
a substantial private sector. Recent economic reforms-- 
encouraged by the International Monetary Fund and donor 
countr ies--include new private initiatives in agriculture and 
industry and selling off unprofitable state-owned 
enterprises. There is growing concern, however, about the 
political impact of the economic ref orms--particular ly in 
Dakar, where high unemployment and deteriorating social 
conditions contributed to marked opposition gains in the 
February elections. 

Senegal's favorable human rights record was tested in 1988 in 
the handling of the violence and controversy surrounding these 
national elections. The President declared a state of 
emergency in the Dakar region which was confirmed by the 
National Assembly. The state of emergency lasted 3 months, 
during which the Government had the authority to restrict some 
civil liberties, including freedom of the press, assembly, and 
movement of persons. In practice, the Government, while 
imiposing a curfew, exercised considerable restraint in using 
this authority. While more than 300 persons were arrested for 
violence, the few persons who were convicted received light 
sentences. The Government pressed charges against the 
defeated presidential candidate, Abdoulaye Wade, and seven 
other opposition figures for endangering national security. 
But the State Security Court gave Wade only a 1-year suspended 
sentence after a public trial. Soon afterwards, the National 
Assembly approved a presidential amnesty for Wade and others 
convicted with him. Also included in this amnesty were most 
persons convicted in connection with past separatist 
activities in the southern province of Casamance. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There was no evidence of any killings for political motives. 



285 

SENEGAL 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated abduction. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Government officials in Senegal generally respect the section 
of the criminal code prohibiting physical abuse. There are, 
however, instances of the use of force by lower level police 
officials in the interrogation of suspected criminals. There 
were unverified reports that some of those who were arrested 
during the postelection violence in 1988, including one 
journalist covering the story, were kicked and beaten by the 
police. Prison conditions are severe, and food is little 
better than the subsistence level. In accordance with African 
practice, families and friends of detainees are permitted and 
even expected to provide food and amenities. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

The constitutional prohibition against arbitrary arrest or 
detention is respected in practice. The Senegalese legal 
system is patterned after the French. A person suspected of a 
crime may be legally held without charge for 48 hours after 
arrest and may be held up to 72 hours if ordered by a public 
prosecutor. Temporary custody, which replaced "preventive 
custody" in 1985, is permitted when civil authorities 
determine that there is a threat of civil disturbance or that 
an individual is a threat to himself or others. Temporary 
custody is valid for a maximum period of 6 months, but it may 
be renewed for additional 6-month periods if the investigating 
magistrate certifies that this time is required to complete 
the investigation. There is no limit to the number of times 
it may be renewed. These laws are generally respected by law 
enforcement officials, and charges are formally and clearly 
drawn. By law, every person has access to legal counsel 
during every step of the legal process. In practice, persons 
with means will have private attorneys. The court appoints 
public defenders for indigents charged with felonies. 

During the state of emergency, which was in effect from 
February 29 to May 20, the Government had the authority to 
order house arrests and declare administrative internment for 
up to 2 months of persons whose activities presented "a danger 
to public order." The Government was also empowered to hold 
suspects 8 days before charging them, which it did in the case 
of the arrested opposition leaders. No house arrests were 
made, however, nor were there any cases of administrative 
detention. 

At least one instance of arrest with political overtones 
remained unresolved at the end of 1988. On August 27, police 
in Louga arrested 14 members of 2 opposition parties. Five 
were charged under the penal code with unlawful assembly and 
inciting a riot; the other nine were released without charge. 
Opposition newspapers claimed the meeting had been authorized 
by local authorities, then abruptly forbidden at the last 
minute under pressure from the provincial governor. The five 
charged were provisionally released pending trial. On 
November 10, a judge dismissed the case, ruling that the group 
had gathered in a private home and therefore did not come 
under the provision regulating public meetings. At the end of 
1988, the Government had appealed the case, and the five 
arrested remained free. 



286 



SENEGAL 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial. 

Senegal has an active and well-trained judiciary, which is 
constitutionally independent of the executive, the 
legislature, and the military. Court officials are lawyers 
who have completed a number of years of required 
apprenticeship. Trials are public, and defendants have the 
right to a defense attorney. Ordinary courts are presided 
over by a panel of judges which in criminal cases includes a 
panel of citizens as a form of jury. Although magistrates are 
appointed by decree and judges are not subject to government 
supervision, they are sensitive to Government concerns. There 
are occasional allegations that the courts are not immune to 
government pressure and that some judges have been removed 
from cases when they proved too independent-minded. 

There are four categories of special courts: the High Court 
of Justice, the State Security (or "political") Court, the 
Court for the Repression of the Unlawful Accumulation of 
Wealth, and the military courts. The High Court of Justice, 
created for the sole purpose of trying high government 
officials for treason or malfeasance, has never met. The 
State Security Court, consisting of a judge and two assessors, 
has jurisdiction over cases involving politically motivated 
crimes. The "Illegal Enrichment" Court, which has only judged 
three cases since it was created 7 years ago, is not presently 
active. The military court system has jurisdiction over 
offenses committed by members of the armed forces during 
peacetime. Civilians may not be tried by military courts. 

On April 21, PDS leader and defeated presidential candidate 
Abdoulaye Wade and seven other opposition figures went on 
trial before the State Security Court on charges of 
endangering the national security and inciting to riot. The 
charges grew out of violence in the wake of the February 
presidential elections and were filed under the state of 
emergency declared by the President. The trial was conducted 
in open court, under intense international scrutiny, and 
followed established procedures. Wade and his colleagues were 
defended by a large team of lawyers, some of them 
non-Senegalese with international reputations. On May 11, the 
Court acquitted Wade of endangering national security and 
inciting to violence but found him guilty of having "called an 
unarmed crowd into the street." Wade received a 1-year 
suspended sentence; one defendant received 2 years in prison 
and two others 6 months each; and three were acquitted and 
released. Two weeks later, the President and the National 
Assembly granted amnesty to all those convicted. 

In this same amnesty, the National Assembly voted on May 28 to 
free persons convicted of crimes related to separatist 
activities in the southern province of Casamance--except for 
those sentenced to more than 15 years for the murder of 7 
gendarmes in December 1986. A small separatist movement in 
Casamance has for some years carried out clandestine political 
activities and associated attacks on military personnel. All 
of those arrested during those events have either been 
convicted or released. 

There are no political prisoners in Senegal. 



287 



SENEGAL 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence . 

There is little government interference in the private lives 
of Senegalese citizens, particularly in rural areas. There is 
no evident pattern of monitoring the private written or oral 
communications of Senegalese citizens. There are 
constitutional safeguards against arbitrary invasion of the 
home. Search warrants are reguired and under normal 
circumstances may be issued only by judges and in accordance 
with procedures established by law. While there is no 
evidence that public security forces systematically violate 
the law in this regard, searches without warrants occasionally 
take place. 

Under the state of emergency decree, the Government was 
permitted to authorize searches by day or night without 
judicial oversight, a power it exercised in searching the homes 
of the arrested opposition leaders. The decree also authorized 
government control of all postal, telegraphic, and telephone 
communications, although this power was not exercised. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Freedom of speech and press is provided constitutionally and 
is generally respected in practice. Subject to restrictions 
relating to public order, a wide variety of political 
expression is possible. There are, however, laws prohibiting 
personal attacks against the chief of state or the institutions 
of the Republic. Another law prohibiting the dissemination of 
"false news" has been criticized for having a possible 
chilling effect on journalists. Full academic freedom is 
enjoyed by the schools and the country's sole university. 

Publications, including foreign publications, are neither 
censored nor banned in Senegal. Publishers are reguired to 
register with the central court prior to starting publication, 
but such registrations are routinely approved. There are many 
regularly published magazines and newspapers, and a number of 
publications appear sporadically reflecting a broad range of 
political opinion from conservative to Marxist. Senegal's 
most professional and informative newspaper (and only daily) 
is controlled by the majority Socialist Party. The wave of 
demonstrations, strikes, and violence occurring in the wake of 
the disputed elections was featured in the press, and articles 
critical of government policies and officials occasionally 
appear in the semiofficial paper. 

Notwithstanding the diversity, the official media (including 
the government-controlled radio, which is by far the most 
important medium of news dissemination) are subject to 
controls over their news coverage. Activities of the ruling 
party are always covered, while the opposition parties are 
mentioned only occasionally and selectively, e.g., communigues 
are not read in their entirety, or certain factions are 
excluded in favor of others less hostile to the Government. 
News stories which affect and interest Senegalese are 
sometimes ignored completely in the official media. For 
example, official coverage of the civil disorders and arrests 
and trials of opposition leaders following the February 
elections was partial and selective. Neither television nor 
radio investigated opposition charges of election 
irregularities . 



288 



SENEGAL 

Coverage of the subsequent trials of opposition political 
leaders was sparse on television, better on radio, and most 
complete in the daily print media. During the state of 
emergency, the Government had the authority to issue orders to 
control the press and all publications as well as radio and 
television broadcasts, movie showings, and theatrical 
productions . 

There are also legal limits on access to, and use of, the 
official media during election campaigns, as well as 
restrictions on the use of public opinion polls. The ruling 
party and its allies are entitled to 50 percent of the time 
allotted to political broadcasts, while the opposition parties 
divide the remainder. In postelection reconciliation talks 
between the Socialist Party and the opposition last summer, 
wider and regular access to the media emerged as a key 
opposition demand, and President Diouf has announced his 
intention to introduce legislation in the National Assembly to 
increase such access. 

A national commission reviews all films prior to public 
showing. Movies with pornographic content, excessive nudity, 
or scenes offensive to Senegalese sensibilities regarding 
family or religion are censored or banned. No instances are 
known of films being banned because of offensive political 
content . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Senegalese freely exercise their constitutional right of 
assembly, within certain restrictions aimed at protecting 
public order. Prior authorization for public demonstrations 
is required, and demonstrations or protest meetings against 
government policies are closely monitored by security services, 

During the state of emergency, the police did legally break 
up several peaceful demonstrations, and some demonstrators 
were briefly detained. Many opposition party activities are 
hindered or delayed because rallies or meetings can be banned 
by a local police official. The opposition claims that these 
techniques are used to limit their access to the people and to 
stifle their voice as in the case of those arrested in Louga 
(see Section l.d.). 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

Senegal is constitutionally a secular state, and freedom of 
religion is a legal right which exists in fact. Islam is the 
religion of over 85 percent of the population, but no attempt 
has been made by the Government to introduce Shari'a (Islamic) 
law. Other religions, the major one of which is Roman 
Catholicism, are freely practiced. Missionary activity is 
permitted, and foreign Protestant missionaries are active in 
several regions of the country. Conversion is permitted, and 
there is no discrimination against minority religions. 
Adherence to a particular religion confers neither advantage 
nor disadvantage in civil, political, economic, military, or 
other sectors. 



289 



SENEGAL 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The Senegalese Constitution states that all citizens have the 
right to move and establish themselves freely anywhere in 
Senegal, a right that is respected in practice. Since 1981 
exit visas are not required for travel outside the country. 
There is no restriction on emigration, and repatriates are not 
officially disadvantaged on return to Senegal. A nighttime 
curfew was imposed on the residents of the Dakar region under 
the February-May state of emergency. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 
maintains a regional office in Dakar. According to the UNHCR, 
Senegal is host to less than 200 registered and assisted 
refugees. A number of refugees from several African 
countries--including a colony near Fatick of some 5,000 from 
Guinea-Bissau — have been integrated into the econom.y and 
society over several years and are no longer receiving 
assistance. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Senegal is a functioning multiparty democracy with universal 
suffrage for all citizens over 21. The Socialist Party has 
dominated Senegalese political life since independence. 
Parties may not be based on divisive factors such as language, 
religion, or ethnic group. Presidential and legislative 
elections are held concurrently every 5 years. In February 
1988, the Socialist Party turned back a strong challenge from 
an opposition coalition led by the Senegalese Democratic Party 
(PDS) . The Supreme Court, certifying the balloting, declared 
President Diouf reelected with 73 percent of the vote; his 
principal challenger, PDS leader Wade, received 26 percent. 
For the National Assembly, the Socialist Party received 71 
percent (103 seats), PDS 25 percent (17 seats), and minor 
opposition parties 4 percent (no seats). Overall, the 
opposition scored considerable gains over its showing in the 
1983 national elections. Opposition leaders claimed 
widespread electoral fraud and have publicly disputed the 
legitimacy of the announced results. Some fraud was 
substantiated, especially concerning the misuse of voter 
identification cards. The Supreme Court invalidated results 
from a number of precincts on procedural as well as 
substantive grounds. However, the consensus among independent 
observers was that the election results generally reflected 
the opinions of the voters. Opposition leaders have since 
urged reforms in the electoral code, including a tightening of 
the voting identification card system and mandatory secret 
voting. The President has announced his intention to 
introduce legislation on election code reform. 

Women are active participants in the political process, and 
several parties, including the dominant Socialists, have 
sections promoting women's rights. Diouf ' s Cabinet includes 2 
female ministers (out of 21) and 1 junior minister (out of 5), 
and 15 female deputies sit in the National Assembly. 
Senegal's new permanent representative to the United Nations 
is a female career diplomat, and women occupy other key 
professional posts in the Government. 



290 



SENEGAL 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government allows human rights groups to investigate 
allegations concerning human rights abuses in Senegal and 
responds to reguests for information about those allegations. 
Senegal is a leader among African countries in the promotion 
of international standards for human rights practices. For 
example, it sponsored the African Charter on Human and 
People's Rights of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and 
was a founder of the OAU's African Human Rights Commission in 
1987. Its officials serve in a variety of pertinent bodies, 
and its representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission is 
currently its chairman. Dakar is the headguarters of several 
institutions which foster human rights and democratic 
pluralism in Africa. Amnesty International has an active 
chapter in Dakar which freguently sends missions to 
investigate reports of human rights abuses in Africa; for 
example, in September 1988 a Senegalese lawyer and member of 
AI monitored the trial of Mauritanian military officers. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Sex, Race, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

While officially there is no discrimination in Senegal based 
on race, religion, or language, the country is predominantly 
Muslim and Islamic customs, including polygamy and the rules 
of inheritance, generally prevail, especially in the rural 
areas . 

The status of women has steadily improved under government 
encouragement and increased educational opportunities. 
However, the reality is that women are still confined largely 
to traditional roles, notably in the large subsistence 
agricultural sector. Women usually marry young (the majority 
at age 16), average about seven live births, and die 
relatively young. Sixty-seven percent of women aged 40 to 45 
live in polygamous unions. Women are barred from the armed 
services and paramilitary gendarmerie, and a reguirement that 
new police officers have prior military experience effectively 
has put an end to the recruitment of women in that service. 

A subtle form of discrimination based on social status does 
exist against families "of caste," that is, persons 
traditionally occupied with menial jobs in the community such 
as tanners, blacksmiths (and, by extension, gold and 
silversmiths), wood carvers, and some fishermen. Although it 
is against the law to even mention the caste of a Senegalese, 
traditions persist, and virtually all citizens know where each 
person fits in the social hierarchy. Families sometimes 
refuse to permit the marriage of a daughter to a young man of 
caste because it would lower her status. At the same time, a 
number of persons from caste families have risen to the 
highest levels of the Government. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

There is no comprehensive census of the economically active 
population in Senegal, and data concerning the labor force are 
incomplete. The working population (15 to 59 years old 
inclusive) is estimated at 50 percent of Senegal's nearly 7 
million citizens. Of these, at least 75 percent are engaged 



291 



SENEGAL 

in rural activities such as cultivation, herding, fishing. At 
least 85 percent of the remaining 800,000 are engaged in 
small, privately owned and operated businesses. Approximately 
100,000 are government workers or employees of state-owned 
business enterprises. 

A minimum of seven people, each having worked within their 
profession for at least 1 year, may form a union by submitting 
a list of members and a charter to the Ministry of Interior. 
A union can be disbanded by the Ministry if the union's 
activities deviate from the charter. Even though they 
represent a small percentage of the overall population, unions 
wield a significant amount of political influence, primarily 
because of their ability to disrupt essential services. 

Unions have the right to strike, and during 1988 there were 
frequent strikes by the teacher/professor, electrical, and 
health worker unions which were resolved in bargaining with 
the Government. Senegalese unions are represented in 
international labor organizations, such as the International 
Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization of African Trade 
Union Unity. Almost all the unions are based in the capital 
city of Dakar. 

The National Confederation of Senegalese Workers (CNTS) was 
formed in 1969, and while ostensibly an independent umbrella 
organization, it follows government policy closely. It has 
come under fire recently by opposition parties who believe the 
CNTS puts government needs before those of the workers. 
Several small unions, usually of leftist/Communist 
orientation, have broken away from the CNTS and attempted to 
form a parallel umbrella organization. Members of these 
breakaway unions are concentrated within a few specialized 
areas, including teachers, university professors, and health 
workers. Although these defections have eroded the CNTS' 
prestige and influence somewhat, it remains Senegal's largest 
and most powerful labor organization. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Senegalese unions have the right to organize and to bargain 
collectively, and these rights are protected in practice. 
There are no known instances of workers being forcibly 
discouraged from exercising these rights. In recent years, as 
the economic situation worsened and factories and businesses 
closed down, collective bargaining has succeeded in several 
instances in guaranteeing extended benefits for laid-off 
workers. For example, the union representing workers at the 
recently closed Bata shoe factory secured from management a 
generous severance package. Subsequently, agreement was 
reached between Bata, the Government, and the union to reopen 
a restructured Bata facility with a reduced labor force. The 
CNTS has been a major force in establishing, through 
collective bargaining, regulations and guidelines for the 
well-being of workers. Government policy is to let the CNTS 
handle labor union problems, but the Government has in the 
past intervened when requested. For example, a governm.ent 
financial consultant was tasked to verify a company's claim of 
bankruptcy due to high labor costs. 

A free zone exists in Dakar into which goods may be imported 
for manufacture and reexported without payment of duty. 
Senegalese labor laws apply in this zone. 



292 

SENEGAL 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There is no forced labor in Senegal. The ILO Committee of 
Experts, however, has noted that under sections of the 
Merchant Navy Code seafarers can be punished for breaches of 
labor discipline with sentences of imprisonment involving 
compulsory labor. The Government has stated that in practice 
no such sentences have been passed by judges; nevertheless, 
the Committee has urged that the provisions be brought into 
conformity with Convention 105. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum age for employment in Senegal is 16 for 
apprenticeships and 18 for all other types of work. These 
restrictions are closely monitored and strictly enforced 
within the formal wage sector, that is, the area of the 
economy over which the Government can exercise some 
supervision such as state agencies, large private enterprises, 
or farmers gathered into cooperatives. On the other hand, 
minimum age and other workplace regulations on family farms in 
rural areas and in privately owned businesses are much less 
well enforced. Children under 16 are employed in this 
informal work sector, but there were no reported incidents of 
"sweat shops" or work-related abuses of children in Senegal. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The CNTS has been very successful, within the wage sector, in 
forcing implementation of acceptable conditions of work, 
including standard workweeks (40 hours per week for most 
professions), holiday/annual leave benefits (usually 1 month 
per year), and a variety of health and safety regulations. 
These regulations are incorporated into the labor code 
approved by the National Assembly. Recent CNTS efforts have 
concentrated on raising the minimum wage, currently 
approximately $0.70 an hour, which is not considered 
sufficient to maintain a decent standard of living. 



293 



SEYCHELLES 



The Seychelles is a one-party state led by President France 
Albert Rene, who took power in June 1977 in a military coup 
d'etat and forced into exile a number of former leaders, 
including the then president, James Mancham. A new 
Constitution, adopted in 1979, abolished all political 
opposition to the ruling Socialist party, the Seychelles 
People's Progressive Front (SPPF) . This Constitution provides 
for a strong presidential executive, who appoints ministers, 
and a People's Assembly of 23 elected members and several 
appointed members. The 1987 elections to the Assembly were 
competitive (more than one candidate vied for some seats), but 
all candidates were members of the SPPF. 

Seychelles has a defense force of about 800 army personnel, a 
300-man presidential protection unit, a 100-man navy, a 15-man 
air force, a uniformed police force of 500, and a people's 
militia of about 1,000. 

The Government, through the Seychelles marketing board, its 
many other state enterprises, and banking regulations, 
controls the im.portation, licensing, and distribution of 
virtually all goods and services and exercises significant 
control over all phases of the economy. Tourism is the most 
important sector, accounting for 11 percent of the gross 
domestic product. Employment, foreign exchange earnings, 
construction, banking and commerce are all dominated by 
tourism and related industries. Seychelles has made progress 
toward diversifying its economy by granting fishing licenses 
to 40 foreign trawlers, and it services this trawler fleet at 
expanded port facilities in Victoria, which were financed by 
foreign donor assistance. In addition, a tuna canning factory 
has begun operation and is adding to foreign exchange earnings. 

Human rights continue to be significantly restricted. The 
Constitution does not guarantee fundamental human rights, but 
rather describes them in a preamble as the goal of the people 
of Seychelles. The Public Security Act, which allows for 
indefinite detention in security cases, serves to intimidate 
real and potential opposition. The Government also uses exile 
as a means of suppressing dissent and in 1988 continued a 
program of acquiring real property belonging to Seychellois 
residing overseas who are known to oppose the Government. 
There were no reported instances of torture in 1988 and no 
political arrests or detentions. One case that had raised 
human rights concerns was resolved in 1988 when Royce Dias, an 
opponent of the Government, was released from prison. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political killing 

There were no confirmed instances of killing for political 
motives in 1988. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of disappearance in 1988. 



294 



SEYCHELLES 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

The Constitution explicitly forbids torture, and there were no 
new reports of torture in 1988. The Government made no 
apparent effort to investigate credible allegations of torture 
that occurred in 1986. Generally, prisoners are well fed and 
supervised by professional prison wardens. Prisoners are 
normally incarcerated on isolated islands, although family 
visits are routinely arranged. There is a review tribunal 
which is supposed to monitor prisoner treatment, but the 
tribunal has not met since the late 1970 "s. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

There were no confirmed reports in 1988 of persons being 
arrested and detained under the Public Security Act, which 
allows for indefinite detention in security cases. The Act 
has been used in the past under questionable circumstances, as 
in 1986 when Phillippe Boulle, the leading human rights 
activist in the country, and others were detained for 5 months 
without formal charge. In addition to those held under the 
Act, police sometimes detain persons for up to 24 hours for 
questioning regarding alleged antigovernment activities. In 
particular, persons who seek to mobilize public opinion 
against the Government run a serious risk of being detained 
for questioning. At the end of 1988, there were no known 
political detainees, the last detainee under the Act having 
been released in September 1987. 

The Government has in the past taken various other actions 
against potential opponents. Some government workers have 
been fired without recourse to appeal or review. Other 
persons have suffered social and economic harassment and have 
received direct or anonymous threats which they interpreted as 
signals to leave the country. Frequently, the Government has 
directly urged opponents to emigrate, an option that many have 
chosen over the years. 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Defendants in nonpolitical (both civil and criminal) cases 
have access to counsel and enjoy speedy and fair trials. The 
right to trial is patterned on English common law, although 
there is also a heavy influence of Napoleonic code law. 
Judges are provided under arrangements with the British 
Commonwealth and, except for past security cases, they have 
exhibited considerable independence from both the executive 
and legislative branches. The Chief Justice, who is appointed 
by the President, has stressed on several occasions that it is 
the judiciary's responsibility to impose sentences as required 
by law and that it should reflect the will of the legislature. 

The President exercises quasi- judicial powers. He has not 
only appointment authority but also broad detention authority 
where public security is involved. Seychelles' law requires 
that a member of the armed forces be tried by court-martial 
unless the President decrees otherwise. In theory, the 
Constitution precludes the President from dismissing judges. 
However, the President dismissed the previous Chief Justice, 
an action which has so far not been subjected to legal review. 



295 



SEYCHELLES 

Amnesty International (AI) expressed concern about Royce Dias, 
a known opponent of the Government, alleging that the criminal 
charges against him had been fabricated for political 
reasons. Dias' 7-year sentence for possession of drugs was 
later reduced by the appeals court to 5 years. In January he 
was released early from prison as part of a general amnesty 
which included other prisoners. Dias subsequently departed 
from Seychelles and is now living in the United Kingdom. 

AI ' s 1988 report stated the organization had received^ reports 
that John Both, a supporter of former President Mancham, and 
then serving a prison sentence for drug possession, may have 
been imprisoned for his political views. Both's attorney 
alleged that the drugs were planted but failed to provide 
independent corroborating testimony. Both was released from 
prison in mid-1988 after serving 2 years of his 3-year 
sentence, with 1 year off for good behavior. 

f. Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The authorities have broad powers of search and seizure 
without a warrant. The Seychelles Marketing Board Act, passed 
in 1984, allows police to enter any premises, private or 
public, and to seize any documents which they believe may be 
in violation of the Act. Legislation exists which allows the 
Government to open mail, domestic as well as international, 
and it is widely believed that it does. Many persons complain 
that applications for immigration to other countries mailed 
from overseas are confiscated. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Although theoretically protected under the Constitution, 
freedom of speech is exercised sparingly. The Government 
controls the major newspaper in the country, as well as all 
radio and television broadcasting. Legislation provides up to 
3 years' imprisonment for anyone "who with intent to bring the 
President into hatred, ridicule, or contempt, publishes any 
defamatory or insulting matter whether in writing, print, or 
by word of mouth, or in any other manner." This same 
legislation authorizes a 2-year sentence for anyone who 
"prints, supplies, distributes, reproduces, or has in his 
possession or control" any publication banned by the 
Government for security reasons. The Government has sought to 
prevent the importation of pamphlets printed by its opposition 
abroad. There were no known arrests for distribution or 
importation of "seditious literature" in 1988. 

The President has kept his promise not to interfere with the 
right of religious groups to speak out freely. The Catholic 
Church publishes a lively paper. Echo Des Isles, which is not 
subject to government censorship. The paper carries some 
articles which obliquely criticize the Government. The two 
largest religious denominations in the country, the Roman 
Catholic and the Anglican churches, are each provided 2 hours 
of free, uncensored broadcasting time a month. Both churches 
have taken advantage of the monthly broadcasts to comment on 
social and political issues. 

Broadcasts and telecommunications originating in Seychelles 
are subject to the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act of 
1988, which consolidated a number of regulations which had 



296 



SEYCHELLES 

been on the books for years. The Act authorizes the 
Government to restrict the transmission of messages, prohibit 
the broadcast of any material which in the Government's 
opinion is objectionable, and enter any premises and examine 
any apparatus in connection with the Act. In 1988 the 
Government issued a new, 25-year broadcasting license to the 
Far East Broadcasting Association (FEBA) , a radio missionary 
organization which has broadcast the Christian gospel to Asia 
and Africa from Seychelles for the past 18 years. The BBC 
opened a new relay facility on the main island of Mahe in 
October 1988. Foreign broadcasts are widely listened to and 
are uncensored. Foreign publications are imported and sold 
without hindrance. 

Education at all levels is totally controlled by the 
Government. The Ministry of Education, Information and Youth 
operates the schools, determines the curriculum, and hires the 
teachers. Political indoctrination is prevalent in the lower 
grades, especially at National Youth Service villages, less so 
at the highest level--the polytechnic (U.S. high school 
equivalent) . There are no private schools except for those 
operated exclusively by and for expatriates. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Government has in the past been quick to move against 
unauthorized demonstrations and has made arrests under an old 
British colonial law which prohibits unlawful assembly without 
a government permit, but no such incident occurred in 1988. 
All associations, clubs, and other organizations require 
government permission to organize, which is usually granted 
for nonpolitical groups only. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

There is no religious persecution in the Seychelles, and 
church services are widely attended. The Roman Catholic, 
Anglican, and other Christian demoninations thrive, and 
Muslims and Hindus are unrestricted in their religious 
practices . 

There is a clear separation between church and state. 
Religious instruction in schools has been limited. The 
Government has addressed religious institutions' complaints 
that artificial impediments have made it difficult, if not 
impossible, for children (ages 14-17) in the National Youth 
Service (NYS) to attend church by allowing services to be held 
at the NYS camps. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

There are no restrictions on internal travel. Seychellois 
traveling abroad for study at government expense are required 
to sign a bond which enables the Government to recoup the cost 
of their education if they fail to return. Persons who are 
"bonded" must obtain government permission to travel abroad 
following their return. There are no known cases in which 
passports are currently being withheld. There are no 
restrictions on voluntary repatriation for Seychellois willing 
to accept the present one-party political system. 



297 



SEYCHELLES 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change their Government 

Since 1979 there has been only one legal political party, the 
Seychelles People's Progressive Front (SPPF) . All political 
(and much social) activity is channeled through this 
institution. Citizens cannot change the one-party system, and 
therefore cannot change the party in power. President France 
Albert Rene, both as President of the country as well as the 
Secretary General of the party, wields considerable power and 
influence. During the last SPPF Congress held in December, 
1987, the President was again unopposed and was elected 
unanimously to a fourth 3-year term as Secretary General of 
the party. Opponents of the party can neither organize nor 
express public opposition. The party has 23 regional offices, 
called "branches," which are responsible for organizing and 
supervising discussion about current government policies. 
These branches are encouraged to report public opinion in 
their regions, but this does not often result in policy 
changes . 

One woman serves as a cabinet minister, and she and two other 
women are serving as Central Committee members of the party. 
Many other senior officials, up to and including the rank of 
state secretary, are women. 

The Government has, and uses, various means to stifle 
political opposition. In 1983 it embarked on a campaign to 
nationalize private land, ostensibly to claim unused 
agricultural acreage. On March 13, 1987, the Government, 
under the Land Acquisition Act of 1977, implemented a vigorous 
program of acquiring parcels of Seychelles real estate owned 
by Seychellois abroad known to oppose the Government. 
Compensation, supposedly at market value, is usually in the 
form, of bonds and is paid to the owners over a period of 20 
years. Acquisitions increased in 1988, not only of properties 
belonging to nonresident Seychellois, but also of properties 
belonging to foreign nationals and of resident Seychellois not 
known to oppose the Government. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government has not been particularly responsive to 
inquiries from international and nongovernmental 
organizations. A report of the U.N. Commission on Human 
Rights noted three outstanding disappearance cases dating back 
to 1977 and 1984 to which there has been no response from the 
Government since 1986. However, requests for information are 
processed and sent to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 
who acts as an interlocutor between human rights groups, such 
as AI and the Government. In the past, inquiries have led to 
the release of some detainees. 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

There is no discrimination in housing, employment, education, 
or other social services based on sex or on racial, ethnic, 
national, or religious identification. Women enjoy high 
status in this essentially matriarchal society. They have the 
same legal, political, economic, and social rights as men, and 
generally there is no disparity in wage rates. 



298 

SEYCHELLES 
Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

The right of workers to associate is restricted in that there 
is only one authorized union, the National Workers' Union 
(NWU) . It is under the direct control of the Government and 
the party and is not, therefore, an independent trade union. 
Despite being a transmission device for the Government, the 
NWU plays an effective role on behalf of workers and forces 
employers to address workers' complaints. All prospective 
workers for positions in government and in the private sector 
can be hired only through the Central Employment Registrar. 
In a sense, they become members of the union automatically 
upon employment because a portion of their mandatory social 
security contributions goes directly to the NWU. Under the 
terms of the Employment Act of 1985, union officials are 
appointed by the Government rather than elected by the 
membership. Shop stewards, however, are elected by the 
membership of the various NWU chapters at the workplace. 

There is no Seychelles law which specifically prohibits 
strikes, but any organized work stoppage could easily be 
stymied by the Government's invocation of one of several 
public ordinances against unauthorized demonstrations. The 
last strike in Seychelles occurred in 1977. 

The NWU lost its seat on the governing body of the 
International Labor Organization (ILO) when it failed to 
attend a 1981 meeting in Geneva. Although the Government 
continues to pay dues to the ILO, it has not sent a delegation 
to annual ILO conventions in recent years. The NWU is 
permitted to affiliate with a regional trade union 
organization and is a member of the Organization of African 
Trade Union Unity. It also maintains contact with the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) but 
was forced to disaffiliate from the ICFTU in 1981 by the party. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

There is no collective bargaining in the true sense of the 
term. Authority over wages, hours, benefits, and conditions 
of employment is vested in the Ministry of Employment and 
Social Services, which enforces the provisions of the 
Employment Act of 1985 and establishes pay schedules 
applicable to all sectors. The NWU, through the Ministry, has 
signed collective agreements which establish maximum working 
hours for various occupations. Private employers and the 
larger state enterprises are subject to the "collective 
bargaining agreements" which have been established for the 
various "sectors" of employment. The parameters of these 
agreements are determined in negotiations between the 
Federation of Employers' Associations of Seychelles and the 
NWU. These agreements vary from sector to sector, but all 
provide minimum standards that are set by the Ministry. The 
Ministry must also approve any agreement before it goes into 
effect. Any grievances which might arise later are subject to 
discussion in worker-management committees at the workplace, 
with the Ministry having the final say, should arbitration 
fail. 

There are no export processing zones. Labor legislation is 
applied uniformly throughout the country. 



299 



SEYCHELLES 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
There is no forced or compulsory labor in Seychelles. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

The minimum working age, monitored and enforced by the 
Government, is 15, with supervised training programs available 
to some youngsters at age 14. In establishments within the 
tourist sector, the minimum working age is 18. 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The basic minimum wage, established by law, is equivalent to 
$109 a month, which falls below the subsistence level. The de 
facto minimum wage is $200 a month, which is barely adequate 
in Seychelles' relatively high-priced economy. Workers 
employed on the outer islands are entitled to a range of 
additional mandatory allowances and benefits. The maximum 
workweek, established by law, is 48 hours with shorter hours 
for some occupational groups. NWU officials have 
responsibility for monitoring and enforcing occupational 
safety and health conditions in the workplace. Regulations 
are not extensive in this area, and enforcement even less so. 
The NWU is working with the Government to develop preventive 
safety measures, but this effort has not moved beyond the 
discussion stage. 



300 



SIERRA LEONE 



Sierra Leone has a one-party system of government with the 
President exercising predominant executive authority. The 
1978 Constitution, approved in a national referendum, 
established the All People's Congress (APC) as the country's 
sole legal political party. Ma jor-General Dr. Joseph Saidu 
Momoh assumed power on November 28, 1985, following a national 
referendum confirming his designation by the APC for the 
Presidency. 

The security structure includes the Defense Force (1,500-2,000 
men), the regular police (3,000-5,000), and a paramilitary 
branch of the police, the Special Security Division 
(1,000-1,500). The Defense Force is responsible for 
preventing external aggression and wide-scale civil 
disturbances. The police are responsible for law and order 
and internal security. The Special Security Division's role 
is not well defined, but, under the previous regime, was used 
to enforce the political decisions of the President. In 
September President Momoh proposed creating another special 
division with the express purpose of stopping illegal 
trafficking in precious resources, e.g., gold and diamonds. 

About 70 percent of Sierra Leone's 3.9 million population is 
engaged in agriculture, mainly subsistence farming. For many 
years the economy has been in a steady decline, in part due to 
falling world diamond prices and to reduced rice production. 
Mineral exports, notably titanium ore, gold, and diamonds, are 
the principal sources of foreign exchange. The Constitution 
recognizes the right of the individual to own private 
property, but government ownership is retained in certain key 
sectors, particularly in the transportation and marketing of 
mineral exports. In November 1987, the Government imposed a 
state of economic emergency to counter the deteriorating 
economic situation and combat hoarding and smuggling. The 
program granted the State authority, inter alia, to detain 
persons without trial, to control the movements of people, and 
to limit press reporting. 

The human rights situation in 1988 continued to be restricted 
by the economic emergency legislation. In 1987-88, the 
Government used its new powers forcefully, notably in the 
initial months, and there were abuses of human rights, e.g., 
in the detention of a number of persons without charge or 
trial, in arbitrary strip searches at roadblocks, and in 
restricting the assembly of several groups wishing to 
demonstrate peacefully. The constitutionality of the 
emergency laws was upheld by the High Court, and they remained 
in effect at the end of 1988. The treason cases of former 
Vice President Francis M. Minah and 17 others continued in 
1988 in the Court of Appeals. In September this Court upheld 
the convictions and death sentences of Minah and 11 others, 
sustained the prison sentences of 2 others, and reversed the 
convictions of 4 persons. Those sentenced to death for 
plotting to assassinate the President have appealed to the 
Supreme Court and still have the option of appealing to the 
Clemency Board chaired by the President. Most observers, 
including Amnesty International representatives who attended 
part of the trial, indicate that the trial proceedings were 
conducted generally in accord with international standards. 



301 

SIERRA LEONE 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

There were no reports of political killings. 

b. Disappearance 

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Harsh physical treatment of prisoners by police is thought to 
be common. Amnesty International (AI) reported in 1987 and in 
1988 that prison conditions are poor and food shortages 
severe. Lawyers and journalists continued in 1988 to contend 
that deaths due to malnutrition, pneumonia, and diarrhea are 
common. Subsequent to AI ' s 1987 report, the President 
appointed a special commission of inquiry to investigate 
prison conditions, but the commission's anticipated report 
failed to appear in 1988 and is now projected for early 1989. 
Many Sierra Leoneans are concerned that the report will focus 
on misconduct by prison officials rather than on the 
conditions themselves. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Judicial review of arrests is part of Sierra Leone common 
law. Under normal circumstances, detainees not charged with 
an offense within 28 days of arrest must be released. There 
are reports, however, that judicial review, including the 
28-day limit, is not always observed. Attorneys and others 
have often alleged that police, to harass or to exact personal 
gain, sometimes detain persons without charge or judicial 
review. There are also reports that those too poor to hire a 
lawyer are often held for years without trial, particularly 
when the accuser has paid enforcement or judicial officials to 
violate the law. 

The application of due process in the pretrial period has been 
further eroded by the President's new economic emergency 
measures, announced in November 1987, which gave the 
Government additional detention and other powers to deal with 
smugglers and hoarders of currency and commodities. During a 
state of emergency, the Public Emergency Act comes into 
effect, and persons detained under its provisions are not 
guaranteed a hearing unless charged with a capital offense. 
Under the Constitution, the President may take measures to 
detain any person who is, or is reasonably suspected of being, 
dangerous to the well-being of the Republic. The Economic 
Emergency Law extended the definition of "dangerous" to 
include activities relating to certain types of economic 
behavior. 

At the end of 1988, the number of persons held in detention, 
including under the emergency legislation, was not known, but 
several hundred persons were detained in the first months 
after the new measures went into effect. Most of the 
detentions under the emergency legislation have been of short 
duration . 



302 



SIERRA LEONE 

Exile as a political weapon is not practiced in Sierra Leone. 
With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

Sierra Leone's judicial system is composed of a Supreme Court, 
an intermediate Appeals Court, a High Court of Justice, and 
magistrates courts. Judges are appointed by the President. 
Native courts presided over by local chiefs administer 
customary law. 

The judiciary has generally maintained its independence, 
although some critics charge that the legal system is 
increasingly subject to political manipulation, often before 
cases reach the courts, and that it has also been penetrated 
by corruption, particularly at the lower levels. Defendants 
are allowed counsel of their choice. Many defendants, 
however, cannot afford counsel. Public defenders are provided 
only in capital offense cases. Convictions may be appealed. 
Appeal Courts generally have a reputation of being less 
susceptible to corruption. 

There are no known political prisoners in Sierra Leone. The 
first appeal phase of the treason case involving the former 
First Vice President, Francis M. Minah, and 17 others was 
conducted in the Appeals Court in 1988. Minah and the others 
were accused of attempting to assassinate the President and 
take over the Government. In September the Appeals Court 
dismissed charges against 4 of the accused, reduced the prison 
sentences in 2 other cases, and retained death sentences of 12 
others, including Minah. Subseguently, the defendants 
appealed to the Supreme Court--a decision was not expected 
before the first quarter of 1989--and they still have the 
possibility later to appeal to the Clemency Board chaired by 
the President. 

Most observers considered the trial to be fair. The trial was 
open to the public and human rights monitors, and the 
defendants had legal counsel. They were given adequate time 
to prepare their cases and call witnesses. Nevertheless, some 
attorneys criticized the trial judge's handling of the case, 
alleging in particular that the judge appeared to presume the 
defendants guilty before the proceedings commenced. The 
Appeals Court also received criticism for commending the trial 
judge's behavior before the appeals process was completed and 
for dismissing charges against four of the defendants without 
explanatory comment. 

Although the 1987 coup case — from arrest to trial to appeal-- 
moved steadily, most court cases are not rapidly expedited. 
Sierra Leone's legal system is heavily overburdened and lacks 
resources, especially in trained personnel. This results in 
an average delay of 2 years before a case actually comes to 
trial. Additionally, often the official records of court 
proceedings are handwritten notes taken by the judges. This 
practice limits lawyers' access to written documentation and 
puts in question the impartiality of the official record. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The Government does not generally interfere with the rights of 
privacy and family, and legal safeguards against arbitrary 
invasion of the home are usually observed. However, under the 
emergency legislation, which permits unrestricted search and 



303 



SIERRA LEONE 

seizure of private property, there were numerous actions in 
1988, especially during the initial emergency phase, involving 
search for diamonds, gold, and currency. 

Neither censorship of mail nor electronic eavesdropping by the 
State on private conversations has been reported. Some 
organizations, however, have claimed that informers report to 
the Government on their activities, and there have been 
reports that international phone calls are monitored. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

Although freedom of speech is legally guaranteed, this can be 
abridged under the Constitution if the proper functioning of 
the Government is deemed to be in jeopardy. In practice, the 
Government generally tolerates public criticism by citizens, 
and academic freedom is respected. Political propaganda 
occasionally circulates clandestinely within the country from 
opposition groups based in Western Europe or the United States. 

A lively, privately owned press is subject to government 
restrictions. Of seven active newspapers, only two are 
considered government controlled. However, under the 
emergency regulations, the Government has broad powers to 
restrict press freedom, including through censorship. The 
emergency regulations provide for prison sentences of up to 7 
years and fines up to $750 for publication of any false 
statement calculated to bring another person into disrepute or 
for any statement in a newspaper (regardless of its veracity) 
that is likely to alarm the public, disturb the peace, or stir 
up feelings of ill-will among ethnic or religious groups. 
Although thus far the Government has been restrained in using 
these powers, there have been reported cases of harassment, 
including search and seizure of press property and overnight 
detention of editors. For example, in 1988 the police 
searched the offices of one newspaper after the editors 
published an editorial criticizing corruption in the police 
department. Nevertheless, newspapers continued in 1988 
routinely to report on sensitive political topics such as 
misuse of government funds, bribery, and bureaucratic 
indiscipline. The press has been particularly active in 
reporting on corruption since the Government began an 
anticorruption campaign in July 1987. 

Mindful of latent government powers, journalists customarily 
exercised self-censorship even before the new regulations. 
For example, most editors avoided publishing articles 
personally attacking the Head of State or portraying the 
country in negative terms. The Newspaper Act of 1983 
specifies qualification standards for editors and sets a fee 
for registration of newspapers. There has been no reported 
use of that Act to punish newspapers or their editors although 
the potential for such abuse is apparent. 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly and permits 
the formation of trade unions and other economic, social, or 
professional associations. These rights, however, are limited 
in practice, most significantly in the political sphere. 
Public demonstrations are generally not allowed. Permits must 
be obtained from the police for public meetings and 
demonstrations, and under the emergency regulations these are 



304 



SIERRA LEONE 

not freely given. In three 1988 cases exemplifying this 
restriction, the Government denied permits to groups wishing 
to march against the American Embassy following the downing of 
an Iranian airliner, to market women wishing to march on the 
State House to protest an increase in food prices, and to 
students wishing to stage a protest demonstration against 
inflated rice prices in Sierra Leone. With respect to the 
latter, there were also unconfirmed reports that some student 
activists were detained in order to discourage the planned 
demonstrations. Groups of citizens can and do make orderly 
representations to the Government on policy issues and are not 
subject to reprisals. 

For a discussion of freedom of association as it applies to 
labor unions, see Section 6. a. 

c. Freedom of Religion 

A tradition of religious tolerance is practiced in Sierra 
Leone. Muslims, the largest religious group. Christians, 
animists, and adherents of other faiths practice their 
religions freely. They publish and distribute religious 
documents without government interference. The hajj (Muslim 
pilgrimage to Mecca) is an annual occurrence partially 
subsidized by the Government. Employment within the civil 
service and appointments at high political levels do not 
appear to be religiously biased. There appears to be no 
favored religion under the country's one-party system. 

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation 

The President's economic emergency program if implemented 
fully, could affect the freedom of movement of people, e.g., 
enabling the Government to resettle people to other areas if 
deemed necessary for administrative or economic reasons. Thus 
far, the only official control on travel within the country 
has been in the diamond-mining areas where restrictions are 
intended to control smuggling. There are no official 
regulations restricting foreign travel, but limitations on the 
amount of foreign exchange a person may take out of the 
country have this effect. 

Sierra Leone, a party to the U.N. Convention and Protocol 
Relating to the Status of Refugees, is host to approximately 
200 refugees, most of whom are students from Namibia. There 
was one reported incident of forced repatriation in 1988: a 
Lebanese citizen who was among the four persons acguitted in 
the 1987-88 treason trial. 

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens 
to Change Their Government 

Citizens do not have the right to change their government 
through pluralistic democratic procedures. Enshrined in the 
Constitution, Sierra Leone is a one-party state (the All 
People's Congress or APC) , and no other parties are legally 
permitted. Since independence in 1961, the clear trend in 
political development has been to increase executive power and 
decrease constitutional checks on that power. 

The Constitution provides that the leader of the party will be 
the sole candidate for the office of President, and he is 
elected for 7 years. The Cabinet, selected by the President 



305 



SIERRA LEONE 

from elected as well as appointed members of Parliament, meets 
with the President regularly and is a key advisory body. 

The unicameral Parliament is subservient to the party and is 
largely an advisory body. It consists of 116 seats: 97 
popularly elected, 12 paramount chiefs elected by traditional 
councils, and 7 members appointed by the President. Debate in 
Parliament is often lively, and some backbenchers have gained 
prominence through their interventions criticizing government 
policy. 

Candidates for Parliament are chosen in each constituency by 
the party's local executive committee, which may select up to 
five candidates from a list of multiple party candidates. The 
Central Committee of the APC has the power to disapprove the 
nomination of any candidate selected by the local party 
executive if it believes that the candidacy would be inimical 
to the State. Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years, 
most recently in May 1986. Party leaders contend that 
opposition and strong challenges exist within the single party 
and that local party members have some influence in the 
designation of parliamentary candidates. There is universal 
suffrage in Sierra Leone. 

Although assertions have been made of favoritism in political 
appointments and the military based on tribalism, tribal 
participation appears to be broadly based. However, the 
Government continues to be male-dominated with only three 
female Members of Parliament. 

In addition to the national political system, a traditional 
system of local government operates in the provinces. 
Paramount chiefs are elected for life by the members of local 
chief dom councils. The paramount chiefs wield considerable 
authority in local affairs and are instrumental in resolving 
local civil disputes. 

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 

Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
of Human Rights 

The Government generally has taken a positive attitude toward 
international and nongovernmental groups involved in 
monitoring human rights violations. In response to the 1987 
AI report. President Momoh convened a special commission to 
investigate possible human rights violations in the prisons. 
An AI representative attended part of the 1987 treason trial. 

The Government has not interfered with the activities of the 
Sierra Leone Bar Association's Society for the Preservation of 
Human Rights. This active human rights group, founded in 

1985, is supported by Members of Parliament, lawyers, judges, 
medical doctors, academics, civil servants, trade unionists, 
and the media. The Society won its first major court case in 

1986, obtaining the acguittal of a group arrested for 
demonstrating peacefully. Since then the group has obtained 
the release of several persons who were detained without 
judicial review. Local chapters of Amnesty International also 
exist . 

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
Language, or Social Status 

There is no officially sanctioned discrimination on the basis 
of sex, religion, language, or social status. However, 



306 



SIERRA LEONE 

citizens of non-African descent do face political 
restrictions. Persons born in Sierra Leone of Lebanese 
extraction have, in actual practice, fewer rights than Sierra 
Leoneans of indigenous ethnic origin. Although Lebanese 
residents may hold Sierra Leonean passports, the right of 
political participation currently is limited, including 
membership in the APC. Members of Sierra Leone's various 
ethnic and religious groups interact peacefully. 

Women in Sierra Leone are guaranteed equal rights by the 
Constitution, but their status varies widely in different 
parts of the country and depends heavily upon the cultural 
values and traditions of their ethnic group. These values 
affect women's access to education, including higher 
education. In most rural areas, women are farmers. In some 
areas of Sierra Leone, women have been elected to the 
prestigious position of paramount chief. Women are prominent 
in most professions; several have served as mayor of Freetown, 
and there is one female Supreme Court Justice. 

Section 6 Worker Rights 

a. The Right of Association 

Sierra Leone has a long history of trade unionism, and most 
sectors of the modern economy are unionized. Labor has the 
right to associate, to organize into unions, and to recruit 
members. Labor, including civil servants, is also permitted 
to strike. There have been a number of strikes and other 
forms of industrial action in recent years, most recently a 
teachers' work slowdown in 1987 and a strike among water 
workers in 1988. Unions also have the right to join 
confederations. The Government has favored one confederation, 
the Sierra Leone Labor Congress (SLCC), to which most unions 
now belong, and the Government exercises influence on labor 
through the SLCC. The head of the SLCC is a member of the APC 
and a Member of Parliament. The SLCC participates in Sierra 
Leone's delegation to the International Labor Organization 
(ILO) meetings and is a member of the International 
Confederation of Free Trade Unions. 

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 

Labor has the right to engage in collective bargaining. This 
takes place through the medium of trades councils, which meet 
according to a regular schedule (every 3 years for a major 
review, every 15 months for a wage review). However, both 
parties have the right to call for negotiations as and when 
the circumstances demand. Labor legislation is applied 
uniformly throughout the country. 

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 

There is no forced or compulsory labor in Sierra Leone in 
practice. For many years the ILO Committee of Experts has 
asked the Government to repeal or amend a section of the 
Chiefdom Councils Act, under which compulsory farm labor may 
be required, so as to bring the law into conformity with ILO 
Convention 29 on forced labor. 

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children 

There is no minimum age for the employment of children, and 
child labor is practiced via apprenticeships in the trades and 
especially in subsistence, family farming. 



307 



SIERRA LEONE 

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 

The normal workweek is 5 days and 38 to 40 hours. In 1988 the 
Government eliminated Saturday workdays for all but essential 
government employees. An established code sets out acceptable 
standards for the workplace, covering maintenance of 
machinery, safety procedures, and sanitary conditions. In 
actual practice, manufacturers in Sierra Leone, of which there 
are very few, probably do not conform to the code, and there 
is no practical means of enforcing it. Sierra Leone has a 
legislated minimum wage, but inflation has long since rendered 
it meaningless. In the private sector voluntary wage councils 
establish minimum wages and work conditions that are usually 
followed . 



308 



SOMALIA 



President Mohamed Siad Barre, who seized power in a bloodless 
coup in 1969, is also head of the armed forces and Secretary 
General of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP) , 
the sole legal political party. Somalia's formal governmental 
structure includes the President, the Council of Ministers, 
and the National People's Assembly. The Council of Ministers 
is appointed by President Siad. The members of the People's 
Assembly were last elected on a single slate in 1984, with no 
provision for alternative or dissenting votes. Informal and 
formal consultations between the leadership and clan groups 
have a major impact on internal politics. Conflict among 
Somalia's five major clans and numerous subclans has broken 
out repeatedly over the centuries. 

The Somali armed forces number over 35,000 troops and are 
supported by the military police, the uniformed regular 
police, and the National Security Service (NSS) in internal 
security responsibilities, including in the civil conflict. 
The NSS has essentially unlimited powers of arrest, search, 
and confiscation and over the years has detained thousands of 
people for political or unspecified reasons, often for years 
without charge or trial. Soldiers, police, and government 
employees are poorly paid and disciplined and sometimes misuse 
their authority to extort money from citizens. The antiregime 
Somali National Movement (SNM) , which finds support among the 
northern Isaak clan, launched armed attacks in northern 
Somalia in May, killing non-Isaaks and suspected opponents and 
destroying their property. In responding, the Somali National 
Army inflicted additional casualties and heavy damage on 
Hargeisa, the principal city of the north, and on Burao. 

Somalia has few proven natural resources, and most of its 
estimated 5.9 million people manage a bare subsistence as 
herdsmen or farmers. The capital city, Mogadishu, now has a 
population exceeding a million, many of whom are unemployed 
migrants from the countryside. In September 1987, the 
Government suspended its economic reform program, thereby 
seriously weakening the export sector, drying up essential 
imports, and forcing up prices in urban markets (inflation 
reached 13 percent per month in August). In mid-1988, the 
Government renewed its commitment to the International 
Monetary Fund-proposed structural reforms, including steep 
currency devaluation. 

The fighting in the north produced civilian casualties as well 
as serious human rights abuses. The Somali armed forces used 
artillery extensively in urban areas of Hargeisa and Burao, 
where insurgents had barricaded themselves, and bombed and 
strafed zones populated by civilians. Both sides summarily 
executed suspected opponents. About 300,000 to 500,000 
Somalis fled the fighting into Ethiopia, Djibouti, Mogadishu, 
or the Somali countryside. At the end of 1988, the towns of 
Hargeisa and Burao had less than a tenth of their former 
inhabitants. The remoteness of the displaced persons and 
donors' reluctance to operate in an insecure environment 
combined to make relief work difficult or impossible. 
Confiscation of relief agencies' vehicles--by the Somali 
National Army and SNM f orces--inhibited relief operations. 
For several months the Government limited the access of the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), but by the 
end of 1988 it had agreed to substantial ICRC presence in the 
north. Civil and political rights, including freedom of 
expression and association, remained tightly controlled, and 



309 



SOiVIALIA 

the Government continued to use detention as a primary tool 
for limiting them. The Government detained large numbers of 
Isaaks from the military and civil service but had begun to 
release many of them by the end of the year. The fate of many 
others detained before the outbreak of fighting was unknown, 
and the Government continued to refuse to release information 
about other political detainees and prisoners, including some 
who have been in custody for years. The Government finally 
held the trial in February of 22 persons, including 6 former 
parliamentarians, who had been detained under brutal 
conditions without charge since 1982 and who had become the 
focal point of international concerns over human rights abuses 
in Somalia. The National Security Court sentenced 8 of the 
defendants to death, but the President commuted the death 
sentences, and at the end of the year 11 of the 22 were out of 
prison. In 1988 the Government moved to improve relations 
with Ethiopia, and the two Governments exchanged and 
repatriated under ICRC auspices several thousand Ethiopian 
prisoners of war held by Somalia and several hundred Somali 
prisoners of war held by Ethiopia since the 1977-78 Ogaden 
war. In an effort to improve women's rights, health, and 
social conditions, the Government began enforcing a policy 
prohibiting female circumcision. 

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 

Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
Freedom from: 

a. Political Killing 

When the SNM attacked cities in northern Somalia in May, it 
executed government officials, suspected opponents, wavering 
supporters, and non-Isaaks. One mass grave in Burao contains 
the bodies of 71 such victims. When the Government 
counterattacked, soldiers and security agents summarily 
executed dozens and perhaps hundreds of persons, either 
because they were suspected rebels or because they were 
members of the Isaak clan who encountered government patrols. 
Prior to the outbreak of fighting, there had been occasional 
random killings by security forces, particularly by curfew 
patrols. The allegations of executions by both government and 
antigovernment forces are credible, but the number of such 
political killings is difficult to estimate and fluctuates in 
direct proportion to the intensity of fighting. 

b. Disappearance 

Unexplained disappearances have increased since late May when 
the fighting in the north broke out. As with political 
killings, there were no reliable estimates, but government 
security forces as well as insurgents were undoubtedly 
responsible for many disappearances. Hundreds of civilians 
had to leave Hargeisa and Burao along with the insurgent 
forces--at least some of them involuntarily--when the 
insurgents fled those two towns. At the end of 1988, there 
were credible reports that the rebels were still forcibly 
preventing many of them from returning home. Also, 
disappearances attributable to the Government are hard to 
distinguish from arbitrary arrests and detentions (see Section 
l.d. below) since detentions are not acknowledged by the 
authorities. Because many people detained by the NSS over the 
past 18 years have never again been heard from, it is assumed 
that at least some of them were killed. 



310 



SOMALIA 

In some cases, the whereabouts of political prisoners are not 
known. For example, Mohammed Barud Ali, a chemist who was 
director of the Pepsi Cola plant in Hargeisa at the time of 
his arrest, was convicted of antirevolutionary activities and 
sentenced by the National Security Court on March 6, 1982 to 
life imprisonment. He is believed to be held in 
Labaatan-Jirow prison but has not been seen by his family or 
others for more than 5 years. 

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment 

Recurring credible reports, sometimes supported by medical 
examinations, indicate that the NSS and the military police 
often torture detainees. Methods of torture include 
submersion in water, electric shock, placing prisoners in 
contorted positions for extended periods, severe beating, 
wounding with knives, and rape. Somali officials consistently 
deny that torture is practiced; and the National Security 
Court has refused to admit into evidence allegations of 
torture . 

Prison conditions are harsh, especially in NSS maximum 
security prisons such as Labaatan-Jirow. Political detainees 
in these prisons are denied contact with their families and, 
in some cases, kept in solitary confinement in cells as small 
as 2 square meters. Medium security prisons for common 
criminals are also unsanitary, but family visits are allowed. 
Lack of adequate medical treatment is a major problem. Wounds 
inflicted during torture sometimes fester because of 
unsanitary prison conditions and denial of medical care, and 
result in permanent damage to the health of detainees. Kidney 
ailments are common among long-term prisoners. In 1988 human 
rights groups expressed special concern about the health of 
several prisoners, including Abdi Ismail Yunis and Suleiman 
Nuh Ali (see Section I.e. below) and Safia Hashi Madar. 
Hashi, arrested in 1985, and sentenced to life imprisonment 
following a trial before the National Security Court in which 
she was denied legal representation, is reported to be 
suffering from a kidney infection, severe depression, chronic 
tooth pain, and malnutrition. She was 9 months pregnant at 
the time of her arrest and delivered a son the second day of 
her detention. She has reportedly been beaten and raped while 
in detention. The Ministry of Health recommended immediate 
treatment for her kidney ailment in September, but since then 
the Government has released no news about her condition. 

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 

Although the Somali Constitution accords citizens the right to 
be formally charged and to a speedy trial, the criminal code 
was modified in 1970 to exempt crimes involving national 
security from time limits and rules of procedure. Persons 
suspected of a seditious intent, or perceived as a political 
threat, are frequently held indefinitely without being charged 
or brought to trial. Detentions by the security services may 
not be reviewed or overturned by the courts. 

The precise number of political detainees and prisoners is 
difficult to estimate because the Government does not disclose 
such information. However, they probably numbered in the 
thousands in midyear at the height of the conflict in the 
north. The majority were Isaaks. After the heavy fighting 
subsided in August, the Government began releasing detainees 
taken into custody during the fighting. The first releases 



311 



SOMALIA 

were without publicity and included the mayor and vice mayor 
of Berbers, the chief pilot for Somali Airlines, and several 
Isaak businessmen. The official press then began publishing 
lists of persons whom the President had amnestied: They 
totaled 11 on November 14 and 92 on November 19. Of these 
over 80 were military personnel, including a number with the 
rank of colonel. In all, 116 released detainees are known by 
name. The presidential announcement indicated that the 
amnestied persons would resume the duties which they had held 
at the time of their arrest. 

Also among the detainees were five military cadets (four 
Isaaks and one Hawiye) who had been training in Egypt. They 
were forcibly returned to Somalia after applying for refugee 
status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 
(UNHCR) . Reportedly the Government considers the cadets 
military deserters, and it has released no information about 
their fate although there is a report that one of the cadets 
died while in detention. 

The release of detainees at the end of 1988 included few if 
any of the hundreds of political detainees from previous years. 

The Government does not use exile as a form of punishment. In 
July and September, President Siad Barre offered amnesty to 
dissidents abroad who wished to return to Somalia. The 
Government uses forcible conscription to provide the military 
with conscripts. After the outbreak of fighting in the north, 
the Government's impressment activities increased greatly. In 
some instances, press gangs and groups posing as press gangs 
reportedly abducted people in order to extort money from their 
f ami lies . 

With regard to forced or compulsory labor, see Section 6.c. 

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 

The Somali judicial system includes civil and criminal courts, 
headed by the Supreme Court, which are open to the public. 
There is a separate National Security Court, affiliated with 
the National Security Service, where proceedings are usually 
held in camera. Although nominally independent, the judiciary 
is in fact not distinguishable from the executive, which 
reviews and controls judicial decisions. All judges in the 
Supreme Court and lower courts are appointed by the President 
with the advice of the Higher Judicial Council, of which the 
President is the chairman. Judges of the National Security 
Court generally are military officers posted to the Court. 

Law No. 54 of 1970 provides the death penalty for political 
offenses "against national security," defined as behavior 
"which may be considered prejudicial to the maintenance of 
peace, order and good government." The law does not 
distinguish between offenses involving violence and those 
involving nonviolent criticism or opposition to the Government. 

In the civil and criminal courts, legal assistance is 
provided, and there are established rules of evidence. There 
are no religious courts in Somalia. In civil proceedings 
relating to family matters, such as marriage and inheritance, 
the judge may cite prevailing Islamic Shari'a law in rendering 
decisions . 

The right to appeal exists in criminal and civil cases, but 
not in cases heard by the National Security Court. For 



90-641 - 89 - 11 



312 



SOMALIA 

persons convicted by the National Security Court, the only 
avenue for clemency is through the Politburo of the SRSP. 

The trials of 22 political detainees, including 6 former 
parliamentarians detained since 1982, finally took place in 
February in the National Security Court. The Court sentenced 
former Vice President Brigadier General Ismail All Abokor, 
former Foreign Minister Omar Arteh Ghalib, and six others to 
death for plotting to overthrow the Government. Five 
defendants received sentences ranging from 5 years and 4 
months to life imprisonment. Nine defendants were acquitted, 
but four of them nevertheless were later placed under house 
arrest. Subsequently, the President commuted the eight death 
sentences to 24 years. Ismail and Omar Arteh were permitted 
to serve their terms under house arrest, the other six were 
imprisoned. In October the Government announced the release 
from house arrest of Ismail and Omar Arteh and the four who 
had been acquitted. They were still, however, restricted to 
Mogadishu. 

Although a few of the defendants' relatives were permitted to 
attend the trial, human rights groups, foreign journalists, 
and diplomats were excluded. Observers felt that the trial 
was procedurally correct, and the Court was responsive when 
handling defense objections and motions. There appeared to be 
no link, however, between the proceedings and the verdicts. 
The Court conducted no investigation into the allegations of 
several of the defendants that they had been tortured. 

In September a U.S. Consul was permitted to attend a trial of 
the National Security Court for the first time. The 
defendant, an American citizen, was sentenced to 5 years in 
prison. The proceedings were systematic; attorneys for the 
defense appeared competent, and they argued their case with 
vigor; witnesses did not appear under duress, but some 
witnesses alleged to be important to the defense were 
excluded. The activity for which the defendant was tried, 
possession of poetry considered critical of the Government, 
appeared to constitute the receipt of information and ideas, 
the freedom to which is recognized under the Universal 
Declaration of Human Rights. 

Two examples of political prisoners are: 

(1) Suleiman Nuh Ali, an architect who studied at 
Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and graduated in 1971 from 
Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was arrested on 
September 12, 1982, by the NSS and charged under Law No. 54 
with "creating a subversive organization" and "establishing an 
armed group" which carried out an assault on a prison and 
attempted to assassinate a major general of the Somali 
National Army. According to a report prepared by the U.S. 
National Academy of Sciences, Suleiman Nuh Ali "is not known 
to have been involved in antigovernment political activities 
nor to have ever practiced or advocated violence." Suleiman 
was reportedly mistreated during the early days of his 
detention; he has eye problems because he was kept 
continuously in artificial light; his cell measured only 1.2 
by 1.8 meters. Suleiman was 1 of the 22 defendants brought to 
trial before the National Security Court in February. He was 
found guilty under Law No. 54 and sentenced to death. 
Subsequently, the sentence was commuted to 24 years' 
imprisonment by President Siad Barre. 



313 



SOMALIA 

(2) Abdi Ismail Yunis, a mathematician who earned an 
M.A. degree in 1972 from the State University of New York 
(SUNY) at New Paltz. He was arrested in 1982 while visiting 
his parents in Hargeisa and later charged with the same crimes 
as Suleiman Nuh Ali under Law No. 54. Abdi Ismail Yunis was 
tortured during the early period of his confinement, and 
testicular wounds led to infections. He also suffered from 
skin irritations caused by insects, probable rheumatoid 
arthritis, and severe back pain. For much of his long 
detention period, he was held in solitary confinement at the 
NSS prison in Mogadishu. In February he was also one of the 
defendants sentenced to death by the National Security Court; 
he later had his sentence commuted to 24 years' imprisonment 
by the President. Abdi Ismail Yunis is reportedly in 
Labaatan-Jirow maximum security prison, where he is not 
permitted visitors. Reports indicated that his health 
seriously deteriorated during 1988 and that he might be 
suffering from hepatitis or leptospirosis . Despite 
international concern that his medical condition, if 
untreated, could be fatal, the Government released no news of 
his condition. 

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 

The NSS searches homes without warrants and monitors the 
activities of people through a comprehensive network of 
informants. It also monitors communications and opens mail, 
although there is no evidence that such practices are 
extensive. The SNM and some human rights groups allege that 
the Somali army has responded to SNM attacks in the past 2 
years by poisoning water supplies and destroying the homes and 
livestock of civilians in the area. These allegations could 
not be confirmed. 

"Mobilization campaigns" are organized by the Somali 
Revolutionary Socialist Party to promote public participation 
in, and enthusiasm for, various civic and national programs, 
as well as general support for government policies. Though 
these campaigns are becoming less common, they are especially 
evident during the annual preparations for National Day. 

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 

a. Freedom of Speech and Press 

The Government does not allow public expression of dissenting 
views. Most Somalis get their daily news by word of mouth 
or--consistent with Somalia's strong oral tradition--by 
transistor radio. Except for radio, the modern media do not 
play a significant role in Somali society. The Government 
owns and operates the radio and television as well as the 
country's six newspapers. The Central Censorship Board 
retains control over all media (foreign and local), including 
publications circulated within the country-- fi 1ms , plays, 
concerts, lectures, and other means of communication, such as 
videotapes, whether imported or produced in Somalia, and 
strictly forbids any -expression of views considered 
inconsistent with those of the Government. Members of the 
local press exercise self-censorship. One editor was 
reportedly detained in 1988 after he reprinted an article that 
was no longer consistent with government policies. The 
Government frequently denies visas to foreign journalists and 
strictly controls the movements of journalists who are 
permitted to enter Somalia. Despite numerous requests, the 



314 



SOMALIA 

Government allowed only one Western journalist to visit 
northern Somalia in the wake of the fighting. Many foreign 
publications have been banned, including some Italian 
publications, as well as the quarterly journal Horn of Africa 
published in New Jersey by expatriate Somali and Ethiopian 
intellectuals . 

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 

Although politics is a common topic at informal gathe